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Health centres and emergency rooms never demand a referral. Their job is to perform an initial assessment of your health problems. They will issue any referral you need in order to see another specialist, such as a dermatologist or a physiotherapist.
A referral specifies the kind of care you should have, whether it is an assessment, examination or treatment programme. It might also describe how you are feeling, what symptoms you are experiencing, previous illnesses and health problems you have had.
While a doctor usually issues a referral, a nurse at a child welfare centre and certain other caregivers are also authorized to do so.
Generally speaking, you will not actually see the referral, but you must always be told where it is being sent and what kind of care you will be receiving at the clinic—which might be located at a regional hospital—that receives it. You must also be informed about the length of time that you might have to wait for an appointment there.
Some clinics always require a referral from a doctor. It is a good idea to find out what the particular clinic that you have chosen demands. Each county council and region has its own referral procedures.