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Ten tips for foundation doctors when making inpatient referrals to surgical specialties
  1. Elena Ying Ern Ong1,
  2. Daniel Ying Yao Ong1,
  3. Mohammed Abdul Waduud2,
  4. Wen Ling Choong3
  1. 1 Foundation Programme, NHS Tayside, Dundee, UK
  2. 2 Leeds Institute of Genetics, Health and Therapeutics (LIGHT), University of Leeds, Leeds, UK
  3. 3 Department of Breast Surgery, Ninewells Hospital, Dundee, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Elena Ying Ern Ong, Foundation Programme, NHS Tayside, Dundee DD2 1SY, UK;{at}; Dr Daniel Ying Yao Ong; daniel.ong1{at}


Making referrals to another specialty is an underemphasised skill in the undergraduate medical curriculum. As a result, many new foundation doctors find themselves ill-equipped to make effective referrals to other specialties as part of their day-to-day responsibilities. This can often be frustrating to the foundation doctor, the specialist and contribute to critical delays in patient care. Surgical registrars are required to triage patients (for urgent review or even to take to theatre) often under time and high patient volume pressures. As such, it is imperative for foundation doctors to make referrals as efficiently as possible to facilitate surgical specialty decision making and, ultimately, to expedite medical care to patients. In this article, we describe 10 tips for the foundation doctor in making inpatient referrals to surgical specialties.

  • medical education & training
  • surgery
  • vascular surgery
  • urology
  • neurosurgery
  • orthopaedic & trauma surgery

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  • EYEO and DYYO are joint first authors.

  • Twitter @TipTopDocs, @TipTopDocs, @dr_waduud

  • EYEO and DYYO contributed equally.

  • Contributors EYEO is the guarantor. EYEO and DYYO cowrote and share joint first authorship over the paper, which included a literature search, formulating the 10 tips, elaborating on said tips, referencing and proofreading. DYYO created and managed the social media handle for this article. WLC and MAW reviewed the paper prior to submission.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent for publication Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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