Referral guidelines

Referral guidelines contain condition-based information for GPs about when to refer a patient, assessment and management measures that should be taken prior to submitting a referral, and what should be included in a referral to the relevant outpatient department or specialist service.

Our referral guidelines aim to help GPs decide which tests and treatments are appropriate for their patients based on their presenting symptoms and previous medical history. Consulting the relevant referral guideline before a patient is referred on to a specialist service may mean that an appointment can be booked sooner and the outcome of their consultation is more conclusive. It can also eliminate the need to refer a patient where preliminary tests rule out the need for specialist intervention.

The information contained within our referral guidelines has been developed in collaboration with specialist medical professionals. They are intended to support referring GPs and are in no way intended to replace their professional medical judgement.

Search for referral guidelines below by entering condition, guideline title or keyword

Referral guidelines

Abnormal movements, tics or unsteadiness


Abnormal pupil reaction or size

visual, dark, light, eyes, focus

Abnormal red reflex (or white reflex)

eye, cornea, retina, yellow, black, dim, brightness

Allergic rhinoconjunctivities (hay fever)

blocked, nose, running, eyes, allergies, pollens, watering, itching, sneezing

Behavioural problems in child under 6 years

behaviour, misbehaviour, disorders, problems, social, actions, mood


cyst, eyelid, eye, inflammation, painless, inflamed

Chronic rhinosinusitis/nasal congestion

nose, pain, pressure, infection

Coeliac disease diagnosis

gluten, diet, serology

Decreased visual acuity

refractive, squint, see, sight, eye, visual, impairment, fatigue

Developmental and learning difficulties

child development, CDS, red flags, developmental progression, milestones, speech and language, cognition, learning, attention, fine and gross motor, social, emotional, play, behaviour, self-care

Developmental regression

progress, develop, skills, loss,


abdominal pain, vomiting, consciousness, weight loss, tiredness,

Dientamoeba fragilis and blastocystis SPP

Gastrointestinal, stool, pcr, testing, management


seizure, neurological, recurrent

Epistaxis (recurrent)

bleeding, septal wall, recurrent, infection, nasal, nose

Floppy infant/weakness

hypotonia, weakness, muscle, breathing, swallowing


pain, head, neck

Hepatitis C diagnosis and management of the newborn

hcv, infection


Sore throat

Nasolacrimal duct obstruction (blocked tear duct)

sticky, eyes, nose, watery, swelling

Neck mass/swelling

lymph, infection, head

Obstructive adenotonsillar hyperplasia/sleep apnoea

tired, chronic, arousals, restlessness, bed

Otitis externa

ear, infection, water, canal, contamination, scratching, wet

Pale stools in neonates and infants

stool, dark, urine, abnormal, colour, obstruction, bile

Perforated tympanic membrane

head, ear, pain, discharge, hearing, loss, ruptured, eardrum

Persistent otitis media with effusion (OME)/’glue ear’

hearing, aching, middle ear


flattening, infact, head, shape, moulding, skull, flat

Recurrent bacterial otitis media

acute, respiratory, tract, infection, inflammation, smoke,

Recurrent tonsillitis

sore, throat, tender, lymph nodes, fever

Short stature

height, growth, nutrition, hormone, small

Strabismus (squint)

eyes, alignment, aligned, vision, sight, lazy eye

Suspected neurocutaneous disorder

patches, freckling, skin