Your general practitioner will remain your lifetime friend despite having a private consultant or private insurance cover. They are considered to be specialist since they have a record of all types of ailments that they have treated or even those that they have recommended to other specialists. With this type of experience, they are therefore considered even by private specialists as a referral to their patients.
Your GP has all your medical history and is consulted by the private consultant during the entire time that you are seeking treatment.
Well, some people may opt to go directly to private practitioner without having to consult their GP first. However, the consultant will not treat you until they get your medical records from your GP so that they can now proceed. Therefore, it does not make any difference to go the private consultant first without the referral of your GP.
Most insurance policies will request that you get a referral from your GP before seeking treatment in private consultants. You might find yourself on the loop if you just proceed to seek the private treatment without consulting your insurance policy. It is advised that you get to know what the insurance offers before you make any decision so that you do not find yourself paying all the medical bills from your pocket.
Some of the cosmetic surgeries do not require GP referral especially the minor ones like face-lift. However, if you are doing the major ones like tummy tuck, your private consultants may require your GP referral so that in case of any complications, your consultant knows what to do.
Also, depends on whether your insurance policy covers cosmetic surgery. Most insurance firms do not have a package for cosmetic surgery where else others may have it but with specific conditions. If your insurance policy has that package, then you might need your GP referral so that you can claim the medical funds.
Most of the treatments require that you have your GP referral so that it can be easy to treat. Medical history is the base of what treatment the private consultant will give you. However, there are some treatments that may not require GP referral for instance, private physiotherapist. As much as they may need a few details of what led to you going for their help, referral is not really a necessity.
Screening may also not require GP referral but it is recommended that the results to be sent to your GP for update of your health record.
To sum it up, a referral is very crucial before any private consultant visit. It saves time and also gives the doctor an easy time while dealing with the condition that you are going through since they are up-to-date with your medical record.