The NHS e-Referral Service is a secure and free NHS appointment booking service.
If you're referred to a hospital or clinic for your first outpatient appointment, the NHS e-Referral Service lets you book the appointment at a hospital or clinic of your choice, on a date and time that suits you. See choosing a hospital for more information.
Did you know that in most cases you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you'd like to go to? This will include many private hospitals, as long as they provide services to the NHS. For more information, see Your choices in the NHS.
How do I book, cancel or change an outpatient appointment?
You can book, change or cancel your appointments online, by phone, or at your GP surgery.
If you decide to book online or by phone, your GP surgery will give you an appointment request letter.
This letter includes your unique booking reference number and password. It will also have your NHS Number and a list of hospitals or clinics to choose from.
The shortlist is selected by your GP, so make sure you tell them about your preferences during the appointment.
The NHS e-Referral Service will then provide you with information about appointment dates and times available from the shortlisted healthcare providers, allowing you to make a decision that is most suitable for you.
Use those details to:
- book your appointment online
- book your appointment over the phone – ring the appointment line on 0345 608 88 88 (Monday to Friday, 8am to 8pm, weekends and bank holidays from 8am to 4pm)
- book your appointment while you're at the GP surgery – discuss your options with a member of the practice team
Download the patient guidance to booking your appointment online (PDF, 5Mb).
If you do not receive an appointment request letter, you will need to contact the healthcare provider who made your referral. See Why have I not received a confirmation letter? for more information.
Most hospitals and clinics allow you to book your appointment through the NHS e-Referral Service. Where this is not possible, the appointment request letter shows a picture of a phone next to that hospital or clinic. You will then have to ring them to book that hospital or clinic.
Why have I not received a confirmation letter?
Not all healthcare providers send out confirmation letters. If you do not receive a letter, you can print your appointment details online from the NHS e-Referral Service.
If you're not sure about your appointment booking, you can contact the hospital or clinic directly to make sure they have a record of your appointment. You can find contact details for hospitals on this website. The hospital's Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) may also be able to assist.
The appointments line on 0345 608 88 88 may be able to look into your appointment details for you. You will need your 12-digit reference number and password to do this.