This factsheet explains why you might ask for a second opinion and how to ask for it. You do not have a right to a second opinion, but you can ask for one. This factsheet will also look at what your options are if you ask for a second opinion and do not get one.
- If you disagree with your doctor about your diagnosis or treatment, tell them why. Give the doctor more information to see if they will change their mind. An advocate might be able to help you with this.
- Doctors can have different opinions, particularly in mental health. Second opinions can help you feel more certain about the right diagnosis and treatment for you.
- You can ask for a second opinion, but you have no legal right to one.
- If your GP or psychiatrist agrees that a second opinion will help, they will try to arrange one for you.
- If your doctor thinks you need a second opinion in a different part of the country, your local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) will decide if they should pay for this.
- If you ask for a second opinion but get turned down, you can complain.
- There are some specialist NHS services that are experts in particular mental illnesses. You can ask for a second opinion from this sort of service if you feel you need it. Your local NHS will only agree to this if they think you really need one.
This section looks at the following:
These pages are created by Rethink Mental Illness' Advice Service in accordance with the Information Standard. Last reviewed in February 2016. Next review June 2018.
Need practical advice & info? We can help.
Contact our Advice team about mental health & related issues
0300 5000 927 Monday - Friday 9.30am - 4pm, not including bank holidays