Urgent respiratory referrals

Why have I been urgently referred?

You’ve been urgently referred because your GP feels your symptoms need further investigation and has referred you to a specialist. There are many common conditions that these symptoms could be linked to, including the possibility of cancer. Because your referral is urgent, you will be offered an appointment within two weeks.

Does this mean I have cancer?

Having an urgent referral does not necessarily mean you have cancer. Most people who have an urgent referral don’t have cancer, however you have been referred because you need to see a specialist or have some investigations quickly to help find out what is wrong with you. If our investigations determine that you do have cancer, early diagnosis means treatment is likely to be more effective and this is why it is important that you are seen within two weeks of the referral being made.

What do I need to do?

  • Make sure your GP has your correct address and telephone number including a mobile number if you have one.
  • Ensure you are available within the next two weeks for an appointment. If you are unable to attend an appointment within the next two weeks, please tell your GP.
  • If you require a translator, please let the hospital know in advance of your appointment.
  • Once you have agreed the date of your urgent appointment it is important that you attend it so that your care is not delayed.
  • If you do not attend your hospital appointment on two occasions, you will be referred back to your GP. This is so someone else can have the appointment slot.

Your appointment

You will be contacted by phone to arrange an appointment and also some investigations before being seen in the clinic – this may be offered at short notice (the following day) or at any time within the next two weeks. Should you chose not to attend the clinic please contact 020 7794 0500 x23331 to enable us to use this urgent appointment for somebody else.

Before the first appointment you may also have one or two tests. Read more about respiratory diagnostics.

This appointment has been arranged to find out the cause of the problems you are having with your chest. You may like to bring a friend or relative with you for company. Please be aware that there may be several people present during your discussion with the doctor, who each play an important part in your treatment and care. The doctors will take a full medical history and do a medical examination.

When will I know the results?

The full medical history and physical examination may give your doctor enough information to discuss the findings with you by the end of this first visit. Sometimes your doctor may wish to have the results of the CT scan before telling you exactly what is wrong.

Once you have had your investigations you may be given another appointment to come back to see the doctor to discuss the results and any treatment that may be necessary. Sometimes your doctor will write to you and your GP about the result when no further appointment is required.