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Referral and Consult letters

Referral and Consult letters




What is the purpose of a referral letter? List some qualities that a referral letter should have.


What is the purpose of a consult letter? List some of the unique qualities that a consult letter should have.





Structured formatting for consult and referral letters are preferred by family physicians and specialists[1,2].  A template can help organize your thoughts and force the writer to be more concise.  A template will also save the writer and the reader time as these letters are shorter and easier to understand.


Below you will find an example of a template of a referral letter and a consult letter [2][3]. As you move through your rotations, take some time to look at referral and consult letters that are written well.  Make a point to create a template for consults and referrals that you can use for yourself in your future practice.



Referral Letter

letter FROM the primary care provider TO the consultant[3]


© May 2007, W. Berta, J. Barnsley, R. Cockerill, J. Bloom

 A downloadable version of this paper is available from CFPC


Consult Letter

- letter FROM consultant TO the primary care provider [2]











2. Tattersall MHN, Butow PN, Brown JE, Thompson JF. Improving doctors' letters. Med J Aust 2002; 177: 516-520 accessed August 17, 2010

3. Berta W, Barnsley J, Bloom J, et al. Enhancing continuity of information: Essential components of consultation reports Can Fam Physician. 2009;55(6):624 - 625.e5.

All references for this section