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The Care Gateway & Your Referral

Who we are

The Care Gateway team:

  • Manage GP referrals for patients registered with a GP practice in Manchester.
  • Organise non–emergency patient transport for eligible patients in Manchester, Salford and Stockport.
  • Book community phlebotomy appointments for South Manchester patients (where their GP doesn’t have the capacity to do so).
  • Book COVID-19 vaccinations


Why have I been referred?
Your GP will discuss with you and, if appropriate your carer about why a referral is being recommended for you. It is usually because your GP wants a specialist’s opinion / help in deciding on the best way to treat your condition. This might involve referring you for tests or investigations that cannot be carried out at you GP practice.

What happens next?
If your GP decides that you need referring, a letter will be completed and sent to The Care Gateway to process on your behalf. Your referral will be reviewed and if appropriate will go for further clinical assessment for the condition you are being referred for or straight to the booking stage.

Further clinical assessment – Triage
A clinical assessment is a detailed review of your referral letter carried out by a specialist clinician. This determines which type of service is most appropriate for you based on the information your GP has included in your referral letter.

The outcome of this process may be:

  • The reviewing clinician recommends a course of treatment that your GP may not have tried and they recommend this to your GP.
  • You are offered treatment by a clinician at a local community-based service with more specialist knowledge.
  • You are offered treatment at a hospital by a clinician with more specialist knowledge.

When your referral reaches the booking stage, you will receive a letter or text asking you to call in to discuss the options available to you.

Patient Transport Services

The Care Gateway arranges transport via the North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) for patients whose medical condition means they cannot get to their appointment any other way.

The service provides a range of vehicle types and levels of care appropriate for the patient’s medical need to ensure patients travel as safely and as comfortably as possible to their appointment.

The areas The Care Gateway books for in Greater Manchester are:

  • Central, North and South Manchester
  • Salford
  • Stockport

Types of bookings made by The Care Gateway:

  • First out-patient appointment for all area’s
  • Follow-up appointments for Stockport NHS Foundation Trust


On behalf of South Manchester GPs, The Care Gateway books blood tests at the following clinics:

  • Wythenshawe Forum
  • Wythenshawe Hospital
  • Withington Community Hospital

Contact us

The Care Gateway opening hours are Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 16:00, excluding bank holidays.

You can contact us by:

Telephone: 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020

Please listen carefully to the options and select your required service.

For details of how to provide feedback or raise compliments, concerns or complaints please see our Frequently Asked Questions below.

Please see our FAQs below which may be able to answer questions you have about your referral.  You can also download the FAQs here.

If your GP surgery has asked you to contact The Care Gateway it may be for a number of reasons.

The main reasons for you to contact the service are:

  • Your doctor has decided you need a referral for treatment at another location under a specialist.
  • Your doctor may have asked you to arrange a blood test, which needs to be conducted off site.
  • Your doctor has suggested that you may qualify for travel assistance to your appointment.

The Care Gateway is an NHS funded service which processes all requests for further treatment for patients registered with a GP in Manchester.

When your GP surgery believes that you may benefit from a referral for treatment at another location or a higher level of care, they will complete a referral and send it through to The Care Gateway. As part of this process your referral may be triaged by a clinician with a special interest in your condition. This clinician will then determine where you will receive the best level of care for your treatment at the most appropriate provider.

The Data Protection Act mandates that all companies must take reasonable steps to ensure they have checked and confirmed the identity of the person calling before discussing any personal information with the caller.

The reason you will be asked to verify your details is to ensure that no-one other than you or your recorded nominated representatives has access to any information about your health and medical appointments. As a result of this The Care Gateway will not be able to speak to a representative without your permission unless written consent is included within your GP’s referral.

Telephone: 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020

The service is open between 08:00 and 16:00 Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays).

Since the publication of the NHS Choice Framework, NHS organisations are required to encourage patients to be more involved in decisions about their own care and treatment. Under this framework, for particular types of appointments, you are now legally entitled to have a choice discussion about when and where your care takes place.

However, if you don’t call us after 14 days, we will book an appointment for you and send you confirmation by post.

Whilst under the NHS Choice framework you are legally entitled to a choice discussion, there are exceptions to this.

You will not be able to choose if:

  • A service is provided by local authorities, as your choice will depend or may be restricted to what is in place locally.
  • Services for suspected cancer.
  • Services may also be restricted to a particular level of care.

If you feel that you should have been offered a choice but had not been offered one, please refer to “How can I provide feedback on my experience with your service?” below.

If your referral has been deferred to a provider, this means at the point of your call, the provider had no appointment slots showing on the shared booking system.

Deferring to the provider means that the referral was sent electronically to the hospital’s waiting list.

Once an appointment becomes available, the administrative staff at the hospital will either telephone you to book an appointment or will send you an appointment through the post.

This service is only available where patients require transportation on clinical grounds. If you feel that you are eligible for NHS funded transportation, you can contact The Care Gateway where you will be assessed against the national eligibility criteria. You will be asked a number of questions, some of which may be personal in nature, and be given an immediate decision regarding your eligibility.

Please note the Patient Transport Service is only available for clinical, and not financial, reasons.

If English is not your first language and you would be more comfortable discussing your referral in a different language, we can immediately arrange to include an interpreter in the conversation.

Your appointment confirmation letter includes your Unique Booking Reference Number (UBRN) and password. Using these, you can go online at

Alternatively, you can call the national telephone appointment line on 0345 088 888 or The Care Gateway on 0161 947 0770 / 0800 092 4020. If you don’t have your UBRN and password yet, please contact The Care Gateway and we will happily rearrange your appointment for you.

If you haven’t heard from the hospital, please contact them using the details on your referral confirmation letter or The Care Gateway.

The national booking system is a live service and therefore constantly updating.
Once you have your UBRN and password you can access the booking system yourself to check for cancellations daily. You can access the online booking system at or The Care Gateway.

Once we have received your referral from your GP, we will write to you asking you to contact us to discuss you appointment.

Please call The Care Gateway we can locate your referral without your referral reference number on  0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020

Some GPs don’t have a Phlebotomist in their practice. When your GP requests for you to have a blood test and provides you with the relevant form, please call the Care Gateway.

When you call will need this form as we will need your NHS number off it and whether you require a fasting or non-fasting blood test.

You will also need to take the form with you when you attend your appointment.

Our opening hours are Monday – Friday from 08:00 to 16:00 (excluding bank holidays).

If you have multiple appointments these can all be booked during one contact with the service. Please make the agent aware when you call.

Please call us and we’ll be able to help on 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020. Every referral that is processed through The Care Gateway is electronically tracked from the moment the GP initiates the referral.

All letters from the service are sent out immediately after your discussion with the agent concludes.  Letters are sent to the address provided by your GP within your referral by Royal Mail business class unless the appointment is within a week in which case, they will be delivered by Royal Mail first class.

Alternatively, you can also request that your confirmation letter is sent by email, please ask the agent on the call when making your appointment booking.

You will need to update your details with your GP.

Your full patient record (including the information shared with The Care Gateway) will only be seen by healthcare professionals who are directly involved in your care or treatment.

There are strict controls on how anyone else can access patient information. The purpose must be approved before anyone can use data and they are only given access to the amount of data necessary.

Anonymised data is used by NHS providers and commissioners to monitor trends and activity.

It is essential that any NHS organisation keeps all patient data safe and secure. This is to protect your confidential information. The Care Gateway does this in four main ways:

  1. By removing any identifying information (for example name/contact details) from any documents.
  2. By using an independent review process to make sure that the reason for using your data is essential to your care.
  3. Ensuring the service is strict about when and how data is transferred.
  4. Implementing a robust high level IT security system.

Yes you can. This is called a Type 1 Opt out.  For more information, please visit

The Care Gateway follows the national guidance and keeps all records for a minimum of 20 years after they are no longer required in line with other national systems.

The other systems the Care Gateway uses and their GDPR information is available below:

We would appreciate any feedback on our service, please use the contact details below:

Compliments, Concerns and Complaints


Manchester Feedback and Complaints Service
Manchester City Council
PO Box 352
Manchester Town Hall
M60 2LA

Phone: 0161 953 8388

You can also contact us directly:

Phone: 0161 947 0770 or 0800 092 4020
Email: for complaints or for any other feedback.

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