As with all healthcare professionals, chiropractors are required to work within their limits of knowledge, skills and competence and as such, they may on occasion need to refer patients to other healthcare professionals for consultation, assessment or treatment.
The General Chiropractic Council has published new guidance to help chiropractors understand when referrals are necessary.
“It should be remembered that if a referral is required, registrants must first inform the patient of this decision and seek consent to share their personal information with another healthcare professional, such as a General Practitioner (Standard E7).
“Upon consent, the registrant is advised to initiate the referral with the healthcare professional and outline their concerns and/or reasoning in writing. By doing so, clear communication and understanding for the referral can be established and a course of action agreed (Standard F3).
“Recently, the GCC has encountered examples where referrals have been communicated to a healthcare professional via the patient. Although it is essential that patients are fully informed of the decision to refer, it is advised that registrant send a written referral to the healthcare professional, even if the referral has been requested by the patient themselves. A written referral will ensure there is effective and knowledgeable communication from one healthcare professional to another.
“The GCC advises all registrants to undertake proper referral procedures, regardless of if the referral is being requested by the registrant or patient. This will ensure no misunderstandings or miscommunications are created between the registrant and fellow healthcare professionals.”