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Referring wisely

Referring wisely aims to promote streamlined referral processes within general internal medicine and the medical specialties. In seeking to better define referral patterns, the RCP invited all medical specialties to contribute via their joint specialty committee.

What did we ask?

We asked all medical specialties to provide two lists:

  1. 'The five most common referrals from other medical specialty physicians that you feel require a specialist’s attention.'
  2. 'Five conditions that are commonly referred to you (from other physicians) for your opinion, where you feel that the management required should be within the knowledge domain of any physician such that referral is not needed.'

What does this mean for physicians?

The lists in Referring wisely highlight that many referrals are made to specialist physicians which specialists consider should be in the domain of all physicians. Potential reasons might include:

  • lack of appropriate generalist resource
  • ill-defined referral patterns
  • unfulfilled educational needs
  • lack of understanding of what conditions fall under the generalist and specialist remits.

The lists are not intended to be used didactically but should provide a useful resource to generate conversation about referral patterns, leading to more uniform practice where possible.

Medical Care

Written by leading medical specialty experts, Medical Care is a comprehensive web-based resource for efficient and effective design of medical services across specialties. It describes what high-quality services look like and details how to best develop the physician workforce to deliver those services.


We welcome your feedback. If you have any questions or queries, please email policy@rcplondon.ac.uk.


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