Second Opinions - Refusal
What should I do if the second opinion is refused?
If your doctor refuses a second opinion
Ask your doctor why they think you don’t need a second opinion. If you still feel that you need one, try to clear up any misunderstandings and ask again. Although this situation can be very frustrating, it is important to be polite. You will need to persuade the doctor to change their mind, so focus on the reasons why you think it will be helpful.
If your doctor still refuses, you could ask in writing. It can be easier to get your point across in a letter.
You could talk to your local Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). PALS are there to help patients resolve problems with care and treatment. You could ask PALS if there is a local policy on second opinions. If there is, you can then mention the policy when asking your doctor to reconsider.
You can find your local PALS by searching on the NHS Choices website or Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service could search for you.
Use an advocacy service
A community advocate could help you to ask for a second opinion. An advocate is someone independent from mental health services who can help to make your voice heard when you are trying to resolve problems.
There may be a local advocacy service in your area which you can contact for support. You can search online or Rethink Mental Illness Advice Service could search for you.
Make a complaint
If you still have no success you could complain using the NHS complaints procedure.
If your complaint is about your GP, ask the surgery for details of the complaints procedure.
Your psychiatrist will work for a particular NHS service. To complain, ask the service for details of their complaints policy, or talk to PALS.
If the CCG refuses funding
Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG) have to make hard decisions about what they will pay for. This can make it harder to get funding for an independent second opinion.
If you do not get funding for a second opinion, you could contact your local CCG directly. You can ask them to reconsider. There is information about how to find your local CCG at the end of this factsheet.
Sometimes getting a community care solicitor could help. The costs of a solicitor vary. You might be entitled to legal aid but you would need to discuss your situation with a solicitor.
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