Medical Q&As

Admission to hospital - who decides?

My friend has been ill for two years with violent tummy pains and diarrhoea. This has become worse in the past few months. She is due to go for tests on July 28 but I think that this is too long for her to wait, as she is very ill. Can her own doctor give her a letter so that she can be admitted to hospital?

I am sure that your friendís GP would have no difficulty in giving your friend a letter for the hospital but that letter would not guarantee that your friend would be admitted. In the past there was a facility whereby GPs could request direct admission to a hospital bed but that facility was withdrawn. Nowadays if a GP is of the opinion that a person needs to be admitted to hospital as a matter of urgency there is only one route of access available and that is through the accident and emergency department. The power to decide if a person needs to be admitted resides with the doctors in the hospital and not the GP. Even though your friend has suffered a great deal and you are clearly worried about her the decision to admit her will be based purely on the criteria adopted by the assessing doctor in the hospital. It is perfectly reasonable for your friend to re-attend her GP and request a letter of referral with a view to being admitted to the hospital but that letter will not guarantee that your friend will be admitted.