I'd like to try alternative therapies for migraine - how can I get a referral to the The Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine?

I have mentioned this to my GP and he says he cannot refer me, so I wonder how referrals are made. I am a National Migraine Centre patient - can I be referred from there? I've suffered terrible migraines for 10 years now and have continuing problems with medication overuse headache, so I'm keen to try alternative ways of dealing with pain, particularly acupuncture.

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  • Some years ago, I wanted to get an appointment with Prof. Peter Goadsby at the National Hospital for Neurology. I wrote to him first asking if it was possible. He said yes but that I would have to be referred by my GP. I eventually got my appointment.

    Is your GP perhaps being difficult? Try another!

  • If a hospital is private, then your GP cannot refer you. You will have to contact the hospital direct. However, the Royal London is under the NHS so there should be no problem.

  • Ask your doctor for the reason why he cannot refer you. You need to eliminate whether he is refusing you on the basis of what he feels is a lack of 'clinical need'. If he gives this reason there is little you can do but change GP or go private. A GPs decision based on clinical need cannot be challenged with that GP - there is no process do to this.

    If he gives another reason, other than a lack of 'clinical need', then get prepared with all the information on the hospital, with how they accept referrals etc and take it to your GP and advise that you are not happy and would like to exercise patient choice and request the referral again.

    You can contact PALS to see if they are willing to help you, you also have an option of putting in a formal complaint to the GPs practice manager if you do not get your referral and remain unhappy.

    I had difficulty getting a referral for migraine associated vertigo (I was housebound for months so really very ill) - I had to change GPs in the end. In my case the doctor didn't have an issue with clinical need at all - they used the excuse that the PCT would not approve the referral. When I spoke to the PCT they said that was not true, and the GP should refer and they would consider the request. The GP still wouldn't , so I voted with my feet and got the referral through a more caring surgery.It emerged that the original surgery didn't want to refer me down to cost (they are self commissioning) and I have been told by specialists since that this is an increasingly common problem.

    Good luck!!

  • Thank you so much both - really useful advice. I've done detailed research on the hospital and the GP should certainly be able to refer me if he sees fit - so I'll ask him again armed with that knowledge.

    Thanks!

  • If you dont have any luck, contact us and I can speak to your doctor here and see what they say. Good luck!

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