The Referral Service

The Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Referral Service is a team of local clinicians and administrators who support your GP in finding the best care available for you.

The Referral Service provides specialist advice on the individual care pathways available to patients in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire who have been referred for treatment.

We can:

  • give advice to your GP
  • refer you to a specialist service at a hospital of your choice
  • refer you to a community-based service
  • suggest treatment that does not involve a stay in hospital, e.g. medication or physiotherapy.

If your GP agrees with the advice that has been provided by the Referral Service your GP surgery will make contact to discuss this with you.

If I need to see a specialist, what happens next?

The Referral Service will support your GP with the next steps in your care.

If it has been agreed that you should be referred to a specialist an NHS E-Referral letter will be sent to you. This letter will inform you of the local Hospitals or Treatment Centre’s who can provide the care you need.

What is NHS E-Referral Service?

The national NHS E-Referral Service system allows you to choose where to have your treatment and what date or time you would like to book your appointment. You can choose from a range of NHS, private and independent hospitals across England. On occasions where your chosen provider does not have any appointment available to offer you, they will add you onto their waiting list and contact you once more appointment slots are available.

How do I decide?

The NHS Choices website can help you to choose a GP surgery or choose a hospital for your treatment.

Your choices in the NHS

What are the waiting times?

If you are referred for further treatment or assessment you have the right to start this within 18 weeks of the referral date (when the provider receives your referral).

If you are referred for further assessment or treatment you should be seen within 18 weeks of the date that the hospital receives the referral.

What treatments can it include?

  • going into hospital or for an operation
  • fitting a medical device, e.g. a leg brace or hearing aid
  • agreeing to watch and wait – discuss postponing treatment with your specialist and agree a period of time to monitor your condition.

What’s the benefit of choice?

You can choose where and when to receive treatment according to what matters most to you.

For instance, you may want to visit a clinic that’s convenient to get to, a clinic with the shortest waiting time, or one that has a good reputation for treating your condition.

Or you may wish to see a specific consultant, or go back to a hospital where the doctors or nurses treated you well.

Will I always have choice?

Choice may not be available if:

  • you have suspected stroke, heart attack or cancer and need to be seen quickly
  • your preferred hospital or clinic doesn’t treat your condition
  • Services are restricted during the coronavirus outbreak.

Booking your appointment

To choose your hospital and book or change your appointment, you can either :

  • call the National Telephone Appointments Line on 0345 608 8888.

This service can arrange an interpreter if required.

Please be advised that all calls to this number from a landline are charged at a local rate.

You will need your Unique Booking Reference Number (UBRN) and Access Code information to do this. Your Access Code and UBRN will be generated by the NHS e-Referral Service and appear on you appointment letter.

Referral queries/Referral Service contact details

Contact us on 0117 900 2566 or via email on with any queries about the service we provide.