Advice and Guidance for Patients on what to expect

This guidance is to let you know what to expect after you have been referred by your GP to see a specialist. Please read the information carefully, as it may save you an unnecessary trip to the surgery. Most queries can be sorted out by a telephone call.

Your first appointment

Referral letters are sent in electronically to the appointments department at the hospital you have been referred to. All appointments are arranged by the hospital. You can find out more about when your appointment is going to be by calling the outpatient appointments department.

Tests & Investigations :

All tests and investigations required by your specialist must be arranged by them. They will get the results and they are responsible for acting upon the results and for informing you. If you haven’t heard from the specialist about a test result, please ring their secretary at the hospital. Although your GP may be able to access reports, they will not know how the specialist will use this information to plan your care.


If the specialist prescribes a new medication or changes one that you are on, they should include details of this in the letter they write to your GP. If you don’t understand what the changes are for, please ask the specialist to explain this while you are in the clinic.

Sick or Fit Note (Med3):

Please ask your specialist for a sick line if you need one. 

Follow Up Appointments and Escorts:

If you need to be seen again the hospital will provide you with another appointment.  Please contact the specialist’s secretary if it does not arrive in a timely way. If the specialist advises you to bring an escort with you, they are also responsible for signing the Escort Authorisation slip. 

Some questions to consider:

    • Is this test, treatment or procedure really needed?
    • What are the anticipated benefits, side-effects and downsides?
      • Are there simpler or safer options?
      • What would happen if I did nothing?

    The specialist’s secretary is the first port of call for queries.

    The practice will help if you are experiencing difficulties, or don’t understand the information you have been given.

    NHS ScotlandThis site is brought to you by My Surgery Website