How to get an endo referral

Happy New Year, everyone!

A couple of questions – I'm looking to get an endo referral but when I spoke about this with my GP a while back, he said he wasn't able to refer me himself. The best he could do was tell me that if I tested positive for Type 2 Diabetes (I've been bumping along the borderline for years) and attended a diabetic clinic, a doctor there might refer me if they thought I was a suitable case. Is it true that a GP can't refer you to an endo?

A friend of mine (hypo/hashis) has recently seen an endo in my area who impressed her, so my second question is, what's the best way to get a referral to a specific endo? Ideally, I'd like to see him as an NHS patient, but as he offers private appointments too, I was wondering if it might be worth trying to see him privately initially, in the hope of him then contacting my GP to request an NHS referral? (Getting on his radar, so to speak – but I'm not sure if the system works this way.)

Thanks in advance for any comments.

14 Replies

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  • Sounds like your typical lazy and ignorant GP. My own experience is that by writing a letter of complaint to the Practice Manager stating that the GP has done nothing to help you regain your health should, at the very least, spring them into action. Any complaints are bought up at a GP's revalidation and that seems to be a patient's only weapon.

    It would be worth stating the name of who you want to see on the NHS.

  • I'm sure you have the right to obtain a second opinion. Insist that you would like a referral to an endocrinologist. If necessary see another doctor in your practice. It may be a matter of cost, so your doc is making an excuse not to make hospital referrals - that happened to me when I was first diagnosed and didn't know enough about it - it was several years, much private medicine and another doctor in the practice before I got my referral.

    You definitely have the right to choose the hospital you are referred to, so you should be able to choose to see your friend's endo on the NHS. Go to the doctor with full details of the consultant's name and hospital you want to be referred to.

    Best wishes.

  • Some Endocrinologists also require a letter from the GP if you go private.

    If your doctor refuses to refer you through the NHS tell him you will need to go private as you are not improving but find out first if the Endo does need a referral letter. Some may not and you wont need to ask GP to refer.

  • Hi Taffhamster, I was told a few years ago by my Doc that I was "borderline" type 2 and put on Metformine 1 x 500 mg per day. I'd also been on Leveothyroxine for several years before that.

    However someone said recently on a post elsewhere, to me - You Are or you are NOT type 2 diabetic - there is no such thing as being Borderline! A Blood test presumably will definitely prove yes or no! but I don't know which one. However the comment made sense to me when I thought about it! It's like telling some they have borderline cancer, we wouldn't believe that would we?

    However the mix of Levo and Metformin was not good for me, I started having muscle strength loss and getting tired during the day. Which I'd never been before taking the Metformin. It was when I learnt that the 2 did not go well together I stopped taking the Metformin - with hindsight I should never have been put on it just for being "Borderline! Sadly By The following year I had a swollen spleen, and ended up having a Bone Marrow biopsy 3 months after a dodgy quarterly Thyroid blood test. By Decmber 2012 I was told I had a 'blood disorder'. Today start of January 2016, I know my leucoctyes and platelets on my blood tests are both out of range. The spleen is an essential organ for blood cell production, and we need the white cells to fight infection, not something I do well these days.

    So I would urge you to check 1st whether you definitely DO have type 2 or not!

    Because you are now here on the Thyroid UK Community, I am presuming you know via blood testing, you have a Thyroid Condition also.

    So get your Type 2 blood test done 1st and my husband who has has been Type 2 for donkeys years, has never needed to have an endoscopy or see an Endocrinologist.

    I'd listen to your doctor first and foremost for now. Just because a friend of yours saw an Endo that doesn't mean you need to, from the details given in your post.

    Sorry You are getting too close to getting anxious and possibly thinking you need things done because someone else has had them done! So please deal with one thing at a time.

    What symptoms do you have? Are you taking other meds? Any blood tests you have done ask for a printed copy from your Doctor and note what you are being tested for

    .

    Do you say you are borderline Type 2 because you are overweight and have been for a while. I know I was. That's the benefit of my experience and my endoscopy only proved I had infection clogging me up at the time. The only med I was prescribed was propranolol, also not good with my Levo!

    I am not Medically qualified, just telling you of my experiences over the last 3/4 years, all ones I could have done without - with other unrelated I hope, health things going on.

    Oh and yes I did lose weight and there never was any further mention of being Type 2, borderline or not! I also make sure I take my Levothyroxin precisely according to manufacturers instruction leaflet!

  • Hi SAMBS – blimey, you haven't half been through the mill!

    Thanks so much for taking the time and trouble to share your experiences and advice – much appreciated.

    History is that for over a decade I've had practitioners suggest I may be hypo and I have a lot of symptoms (low temperature, sparse outer eyebrows, obesity, constantly knackered and depressed/withdrawn to name but a few). The closest I've come to a diagnosis is from Dr Peatfield, but obviously he can't prescribe or refer any more. I've been tested via my GP surgery, but have always fallen within range (most recently 4.63, when 5 is the top of the range, so I was just told I was "normal". This was over 6 months ago so I'm due for a retest at some point fairly soon.) The diabetes issue only came up because the GP decided to test for it at the same time and I think my mentioning it may have been a bit of a red herring.

    Obviously, it's not something I want to ignore if it is a problem (and there is some history of Type 2 in my family as well). However, my main concern regarding seeing an endo is getting a diagnosis for hypo (or if it's not that, then getting to the bottom of whatever is making me feel so rotten). Whenever I see a GP at my practice, all that seems to get talked about is my weight and cholesterol (the latter is not of concern to me – see research by Malcolm Kendrick, Zoe Harcombe, et al), but as long as the other figures (TSH, T4, Vit D, B12, etc) are "within range", even if not optimal, they're just hand-waved as "normal" and not open to further discussion. I just feel I'm making little if any progress with my GP practice, so I want to see if I can get help elsewhere.

    Thanks again,

    Taff x

  • Thanks to everyone who's left a reply – very much appreciated. xx

  • Rubbish, any doctor can refer you to a specialist.

  • Hi Glynisrose, you may be absolutely right, but, I cannot persuade mine to refer me nor to run T3 blood tests. So how about posting how you succeed in getting a doctor to refer you to a specialist to help us?

  • I've had the same problem – one GP even asked me "What's T3?" and when I explained, I was told (and shown on her computer screen) that it didn't come up as an option she could select – only TSH and T4 were available. And she was one of the more sympathetic doctors at the practice.

  • That's what mine has - I have a sympathetic and knowledgeable GP but he can't request a T3 test!

    I got the T3 tested privately via a fingerprick test with Medichecks :)

  • Then find an endo through Dr Foster, get them approved by this forum then MAKE your G P refer you! Take the information about your chosen endo and TELL him you want a referal for a second opinion or you will write to the practice manager, the local health authority PALS or anywhere else to get him struck off for telling lies!

  • Thanks for the suggestion Glynisrose, I'm not sure if it was meant for me or someone else but it came to me. My GP's response was 'there's nothing an endo can do that I can't and there is no need to refer because your TSH is within normal limits'. They don't test T3.

    I truly believe that if I write to the practice manager things will get worse for me, the GP already gives me that look: "Oh you again, with your imaginary illnesses".

    Perhaps it's assertiveness training I need rather than an endo!

  • Well my GP referred me, but I had said I would pay to see one privately. In fact I have only ever seen a private endo. Never been to an NHS one, do they exist?

  • Some do, and some (including the one I'm hoping to see) seem to combine private practice with work in NHS hospitals.

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