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What is the NHS Two-Weeks Rule?

As of April 1st, 2010, you have the urgent two-week referral right.

The two-weeks rule means you your doctor urgently refers you to a specialist. You will be offered an appointment with a hospital specialist within two weeks of your physician making the referral. You have a legal right to be seen by a specialist within this timeframe, but the NHS must provide you with an alternative appointment if this is not possible.

However, you will need to ask the NHS to do this for you. If they do not offer you an alternative appointment within two weeks of seeing your General Practitioner, you need to let your GP know.

You will be urgently referred if your GP feels that you have symptoms that require a further check by a hospital specialist as soon as possible so that your condition can be diagnosed and treated faster and more effectively.

Your GP may arrange your appointment while you are with them. You will receive a printed copy of your referral and appointment details. If it is not possible to book a direct appointment, your GP will walk you through the next steps.

If you cannot make it or miss the appointment, you should contact your GP as soon as possible. Suppose you cancel or do not attend your appointment. In that case, you will no longer be covered by your urgent two-week referral right described in the NHS Constitution (although the hospital might do their best to make you another appointment as soon as possible).

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