How to get referred

Lots of people contact the hospital asking for how to be referred to see our doctors. This page explains the process you need to follow. We cannot accept referrals from anyone who is not a doctor and as we do not have an Accident and Emergency Department at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH). You should not come here unless you have an appointment or an admission.

Referral for treatment under the NHS

You will need to be referred by your current doctor. This may be your local pediatrician or occasionally, your GP may be able to refer you. Your current doctor will need to write a referral letter, giving brief details of your child's condition and send it to the relevant doctor here at GOSH.

Our doctors here will read the referral letter and decide whether they think treatment at GOSH is appropriate. If so, we will write to send you a date for an outpatient appointment in the first instance.

If you are currently living outside of the UK and do not know if you are entitled to NHS treatment, please see our section on overseas patients below. 

Choose and Book

What is Choose and Book?

The NHS is introducing a new way of being referred to hospital for treatment, which will change the way your child is referred here for an appointment. The idea behind Choose and Book is that the patient and family will have a choice of where they are treated and when.

This means that you can make an appointment immediately for a convenient time, rather than wait to receive a letter from the hospital. Another advantage is that arrangements will be made using a computer or the telephone so there is less chance of letters getting lost or misdirected.

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 family doctor will give you a “booking reference number” and password, a list of available hospitals and the telephone numbers for the service you require.

Booking your appointment

Once you have discussed your choices, you can either ask your family doctor or someone else in the practice to ring your chosen hospital on your behalf or ring them yourself when you get home. You will then be able to find out which appointment slots are available and book a convenient appointment. Once the appointment is booked, your chosen hospital will send you a letter confirming the details of your appointment.

How will it work at GOSH?

As GOSH is a specialist children's hospital, the choices available are more limited than at your local hospital. For instance, we only carry out tonsillectomy (removal of tonsils) operations on children who have other medical conditions and require more specialist care.

In most cases, your first referral will be to a specialist children's doctor at a local hospital, who will then refer you to GOSH if needed. There are only a few circumstances where your family doctor can refer your child directly to GOSH and he or she will explain these to you.

With all referrals, the doctor at GOSH might suggest treatment at another hospital if it is more appropriate. If this is the case, your family doctor will contact you to re-arrange the appointment at another hospital.

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

If you wish to change or cancel an appointment you will need to ring your chosen hospital quoting your 'booking reference number' and password. The telephone number to ring will be on the confirmation letter. As with all appointments, please tell us as soon as possible if you can no longer attend. If we have enough notice, we can offer the appointment to another child.

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.

Overseas patients

The NHS provides free hospital treatment to people who live in the UK permanently. You must live here on a permanent, settled and legal basis to receive free treatment. If you are not ordinarily resident in the UK, you may have to pay for your hospital treatment. 

If you are from a country outside the European Economic Area, we recommend you taking a comprehensive travel insurance before travelling to the UK.

Your eligibility to free hospital care will be assessed by the hospital overseas visitors team in accordance to the NHS charging regulations 2015, which places a statutory obligation on all Trusts to identify, charge and recover costs relating to treatment provided to a non-ordinarily resident.

For more information, please contact the overseas visitor’s team via

European Economic Area

Austria - Belgium - Bulgaria - Cyprus (Southern) - Croatia - Czech Republic - Denmark - Estonia - Finland - France - Germany - Greece - Hungary - Iceland - Italy - Latvia - Liechtenstein - Lithuania - Luxemburg - Malta - Netherlands - Norway – Poland - Portugal – Republic of Ireland - Romania - Slovakia - Slovenia - Spain - Sweden - Switzerland.

If you are from one of these countries, you will be required to have a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) when travelling to the UK. If you are seeking planned treatment that is not usually available in your home country, you will be required to first contact your local social insurance to apply for an E112/S2 form. This form will allow you to access NHS care free of charge for the planned course of treatment.

For more information about the E112/S2 please access the website 
Or the overseas visitors team via

Information for clinicians

If you are a clinician and wish to refer a patient to GOSH for treatment from Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, Gibraltar, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man then please contact the OVM team, as there are various criteria’s you are required to follow before making a referral to GOSH.

For more information, please contact the overseas visitor’s team via

If you are a clinician and wish to refer a patient to GOSH for treatment from Anguilla, British Virgin Island, Montserrat, St Helena and Turks and Caicos Islands then please contact your local Overseas Liaison officer or the UK Department of Works and Pensions as there are various criteria’s you are required to follow before making a referral to GOSH.

For more information, please contact the DWP via

Referral for private treatment

Your doctor should send a copy of a recent medical report in English to the International and Private Patients (IPP) department. Our doctors will read the report and we will then contact you. This may include an admission or appointment date, the name of the consultant and details of how you can pay for any appointments and treatment.
Find out more information about the International Private Patient Centre.