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Sometimes, you and your health-care provider will decide that you should see another health care provider. For example, your family doctor may feel that you should see a cardiologist or another specialist. When this happens, your provider will make a referral to another provider, typically in the form of a letter. This letter usually is accompanied by bloodwork or other test results that the other health-care provider might need to make a recommendation about your care.

At the QFHT, we have specialized clerks who deal with all referrals. Their job is to make sure the information your provider thinks is important makes it to the right place in a timely fashion. They are also responsible for knowing what each specialist or other provider requires and what the process is for getting you an appointment (including wait times). After we have sent off your information, the team within the specialist’s or other provider’s office will review your information and make an appointment. In some cases, they will contact you and in other cases, we will contact you. After your appointment, the specialist or other provider will typically provide you with instructions (e.g. new medication or a request for another appointment) and will provide us with a summary of the visit so we can follow up as well.

Who will contact me about my appointment?

It depends. Some specialists like to call patients on their own and others will notify us of your appointment and we will contact you. If you’re not sure, please contact our office.

I have questions about my referral.

We can help! If you have questions about the status of the referral or how long the wait will be, please feel free to contact your doctor’s office and ask to speak to someone about the referral. The nurse or referral clerk in your area will be happy to answer these questions. If you have questions about why you were referred, your health condition, or what will happen at the appointment, please contact our office and we will try to arrange for you to speak to your physician, resident physician or nurse practitioner.

My doctor sent in my referral a long time ago but I haven’t heard anything yet.

Unfortunately, sometimes it takes a long time to be seen by a specialist or even to get an appointment. Providers across Ontario are working to get better at that, but in the meantime, this can be frustrating for you. If you haven’t heard from anyone in a long time, please contact us and we will look into it as best we can. Also, please make sure that we have the most up-to-date contact information – we can’t contact you with information about your appointment unless we have correct contact phone numbers.

If something in your health changes or gets worse while you are waiting to see a specialist or other provider, please contact us immediately.

If you find out about my referral, will you leave a message for me at home?

As a general rule, we do not leave messages about your referral appointment with anyone but you, which means we typically do not leave phone messages or give messages to family members. The only exception would be if you had specifically asked us (or given permission for us) to leave messages.

I visited the emergency department recently and they referred me to a specialist, but I haven’t heard anything. Can I still call you?

Of course! It might take a little bit of time, but we will do our best to get you the information you need.

Do you have any specialists at the QFHT?

Yes! We have partnerships with some external providers who see QFHT patients at our clinic. Examples of this include our psychiatry and asthma education programs. We also have a variety of “in-house” providers and programs, including a minor procedure clinic and others; see our Programs and Services page. It is possible that the provider to whom you have been referred will be a QFHT faculty/staff member. For the most part, the process works the same way for these providers, so you are welcome to contact the referral clerk or nurse if you have questions about these appointments.