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How to get referred

How to get referred

Lots of people contact the hospital asking how can they be referred to see our consultants at Darent Valley Hospital or Queen Mary's Hospital. This page explains the process you need to follow. 

Referral for treatment under the NHS

You will need to be referred by your current doctor / GP. They will then write a referral letter, giving brief details of your condition and send it to the appointments office at either Darent Valley Hospital or Queen Mary's Hospital. You may also be referred using Choose and Book.


Choose and Book

What is Choose and Book?

Choose and Book is a service that lets you choose your hospital or clinic and book your first appointment. When you and your GP agree that you need an appointment, you can choose which hospital or clinic you go to. You will also be able to choose the date and time of your appointment.

What does Choose and Book mean for me?

As well as giving you a choice of hospital, date and time for your appointment, Choose and Book will also give you the ability to:

  • plan and manage your appointments around any existing appointments, if you are currently undergoing treatment;
  • fit your treatment in with your other commitments, at home and at work;
  • choose appointments that fit with your carer's schedule; and
  • check the status of your referral and change or cancel your appointments easily over the phone or on the internet.

How does it work?

When you go to see your family doctor (GP) and a referral is suggested, you will be able to discuss your options there and then. Your GP will give you a “booking reference number” and password, a list of available hospitals and the telephone numbers for the service you require.

Keeping your personal information safe

Everyone working in the NHS already has a legal duty to keep your personal information safe. There are several extra safeguards built into the Choose and Book system. For example, any staff booking or viewing appointments will have to have a 'chip and pin' card before they can look at any patient details. Each member of staff will only be able to look at the information they need to do their job and nothing else.

What happens next?

If you have not used Choose and Book our doctors will read the referral letter and decide whether you need an urgent or routine appointment (for 2 week suspected cancer referrals visit the Cancer Services webpage). You will then be sent a date (via second class Royal Mail) for an outpatient appointment in the first instance. 

Can I cancel / change an outpatient appointment once it's been booked?

If you wish to change or cancel an appointment which has been booked directly by the GP with the hospital you can do so by using our online form. If your appointment was booked via Choose and Book you will need to contact them directly on 0345 6088888 (open Monday-Friday, 8am to 8pm and on weekends and bank holidays 8am to 4pm)

Referrals for overseas patients

There are various criteria laid out by the UK government that we have to follow before we accept a referral for a patient living outside the UK.

British Nationals living abroad

NHS care is free of charge to everyone who resides in the UK on a permanent and settled basis, independent of their nationality. Having British Nationality, a UK passport, NHS number, GP registration and paid or paying national contributions does not qualify someone to free NHS care automatically. Please note: Members of the British Armed Forces or British Diplomatic Service based overseas are entitled to free NHS treatment.

Private patients

Private patients are treated at Darent Valley Hospital, for further details please visit the private patient section of this website.