Private Referrals

Information for Patients who have Private Health Insurance and Require Onward Referral:

'Private Referrals' work in a different way to the standard NHS referral process.
If you need referral to secondary care or other services (e.g. to see a consultant or to see a private physiotherapist), please note the following:

YOU need to contact your insurers to make sure the proposed referral is covered under your insurance policy. If it isn't and you need and NHS referral instead, you must inform the practice immediately. We do not create private and NHS referrals simultaneously.

YOU must find out from your insurers if the service you need is provided locally and where that is (it is not always at The Nuffield, Plymouth). In some specialist clinical areas, the nearest private consultant may be Exeter, Bristol or even London. If the service is not provided or it is too far for you to travel and you wish to be seen locally on the NHS, you must inform the practice immediately so that an NHS referral can be generated. Due to the nature of private work and frequent changes in insurers and service providers, it is not possible for us to hold lists of all the available services from each insurer.

If you have a specific consultant or clinician you wish to see, YOU must firstly ensure that person is recognised by your insurer (also known as being recognised on their "Performers List") and secondly, advise the Surgery before your referral is sent. Referrals are otherwise generic e.g. Dear Orthopaedic Surgeon, Nuffield Hospital, Plymouth. This is for transparency and medicolegal reasons.

We do not arrange your appointment. Your referral letters are dictated on a weekly basis and sent by Royal Mail. The recipient is responsible for contacting you and arranging your appointment. We recommend that if you wish to expedite this process, you speak to the consultant / clinician (or their secretarial team) directly. Due to our clinical workload, only truly urgent referrals can be generated faster than the standard process (this is the same for NHS referrals). Urgent referrals can be faxed or emailed to a named recipient (YOU need to provide us with these contact details) with a hard copy put in the post. 

We are very happy to support your private referral and provide private referral letters but we are unable to arrange or guarantee appointments on your behalf. If you have any questions about this process, please ask the Medical Secretary, Practice Manager or doctor or nurse who referred you.

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