How to get a Right to Choose referral from your GP

February 19, 2024
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This article will guide you through the process of asking your GP to refer you to our service.

What is Right to Choose?  

If you are referred by your GP for specialist treatment, such as an ADHD or autism assessment, you have the legal right to choose which provider oversees your care, as long as you are a registered NHS patient in England.

If you suspect that you or someone close to you might have autism or ADHD, it can be difficult knowing where to start with seeking a diagnosis. The good news is that through the NHS Right to Choose scheme, your GP can refer you to ProblemShared for an assessment and ongoing support.  

The Right to Choose referral process, step by step

Firstly, you need to complete a self-report form. You will need to fill out the self-report form for your suspected neurodevelopmental condition. You should choose the self-report form that is relevant to your age:  

Autism self-report forms

  • AQ-10 for adults aged 16 and over
  • AQ-10 for children aged 12-15
  • AQ-10 for children aged 7-11

ADHD self-report forms

  • ASRS for adults aged 16 and over
  • SNAP-IV teacher and parent rating scale for children aged 7-15

If you are seeking an assessment for both autism and ADHD, you will need to complete two forms in total; one for autism, and one for ADHD.

All of our self-report forms can be found on our dedicated Right to Choose homepage.

Next, you need to speak to your GP. Get in touch with your GP and ask them to refer to you to the ProblemShared Right to Choose service. You will need to give your completed self-report form(s) to your GP before they can make the referral.

Then, wait for your GP to refer you. Your GP will now complete our digital referral process. You will receive an email when they have done so, asking you to provide some enrolment information.

Once you have provided the enrolment information, we will review your referral. If your referral is accepted, you will be notified by email and informed of the next steps in the assessment process.

Handling the conversation with your GP

The idea of advocating for yourself in medical spaces can be daunting. When the time comes to ask your GP to refer you for a neurodevelopmental assessment, it’s normal to feel a bit overwhelmed.

So that you can feel as prepared as possible, we’ve put together some tips on how to have the conversation with your GP:

  • Use our pre-formatted GP letter. It explains everything your GP needs to know about the NHS Right to Choose scheme, and includes instructions for how they should refer you to our service. It’s been designed specifically to answer common questions GPs might have about the process, and makes the communication as simple as possible.
  • Bring your completed self-report form. Make sure to give your completed self-report form to your GP when you ask to be referred, to avoid delays to the process. Feel free to bring other types of evidence which may demonstrate the challenges you have faced, such as a diary of symptoms.
  • Take your time. Your GP is there to facilitate your healthcare needs and listen to you. It's highly likely that they will have had similar conversations with other patients before. Don’t be afraid to ask your GP for exactly what you want.

What to do if your GP refuses your request

If your GP questions or refuses your request, this could be for several reasons, including the following:

  • They haven’t heard of the NHS Right to Choose scheme
  • They have concerns about funding  

In both cases your Right to Choose is not disqualified, and you can direct your GP to the NHS information on patient choice here.

There are, however, a few clinical reasons for refusal which are valid.  

Genuine exclusions

You do not have the legal Right to Choose if:

  • You are non-verbal and/or selectively mute
  • You are not fluent in English
  • You have a diagnosis of global development delay or a diagnosed intellectual disability (IQ below 70)
  • You are currently receiving treatment for an active eating disorder, and/or in active family-based therapy or eating disorder therapy
  • You are a person who is looked after, or under the guardianship of a local authority
  • You are currently receiving treatment for drug or alcohol addiction
  • You have experienced a current, or recently (within 3 months) resolved, psychotic episode
  • You have a significant visual or hearing impairment
  • You are undergoing safeguarding investigations
  • You currently have high levels of risk in terms of your behaviour and mental health
  • You require emergency treatment
  • You have already received care or treatment for the neurodevelopmental condition for which you are seeking an assessment
  • You are detained in a hospital under the Mental Health Act 1983, or on a Community Treatment order
  • You are seeking a second opinion assessment, and have already been assessed for autism within the last year (this does not apply to assessment for ADHD)
  • You do not have access to a laptop or computer (please note that an iPad which is at least 10” in size and can be propped up to be used handsfree can also be used to access our service, but handheld devices such as mobile phones cannot)
  • You do not have access to an internet connection in a private place
  • You or your child are not willing to conduct the assessment with your camera turned on for the duration of the assessment
  • You are currently serving a prison sentence, or are on temporary release
  • You serve in the armed forces
  • You have had a head injury, brain surgery, or have a neurological condition that has left you with significant cognitive impairments
  • You are unable to look after your self-care needs, or the needs of your dependants (e.g., washing, feeding, not taking prescribed medications)

Looking ahead

If you receive a diagnosis following your assessment with us, we offer a range of ongoing support options to our clients. We can prescribe medication where appropriate, and provide psychoeducation workshops where you can learn more about your diagnosis with our team of expert clinicians.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about Right to Choose, referral, or the assessment process in general, you can head to the support resources section of our homepage, or explore our FAQs.

Approved by ProblemShared clinician:

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