referral rate

Last reviewed 01/2018

It is well recognised that there is marked variation between doctors in the rate they refer patients to hospital.

General practitioners with high and low referral rates see the same range of patients with the same presenting problems.

"Variation in referral rate implies either marked differences in the prevalence of serious illness - which is unlikely - or that, at one extreme, some doctors fail to recognise the need for specialist assistance and, at the other, some pass their clinical responsibilities to specialists too readily" (1)


  • Health Trends (1991), 23, 66-9.