Women's Health and Equality Queensland


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Asking for a second opinion

There may be times when you’d like to get a second medical opinion. Comparing medical advice can give you confidence if both doctors agree. Or if they don’t, it can provide you with a different view of your health and medical options. It is within your right to ask for a different doctor or second opinion.

You may want a second opinion because you’re unsure about your doctor’s diagnosis, medical advice or treatment plan. You might want to consult a doctor with more experience in your condition. 

It may feel awkward to ask for a second opinion, but it is a common request. In some cases, you can make an appointment with a different doctor, specialist or healthcare professional without talking with the first doctor. However, it is best to ask your doctor for a referral, especially if they have your medical test results and records. These can help make it easier for the second doctor to make a diagnosis and recommend treatment. It may also save you from having to retake medical tests.

If you want to get a second opinion:

  • Explain to your doctor or specialist that you need to consider your options and would like advice from another doctor.
  • Ask your doctor for a referral to see another doctor or specialist. You may have a certain person in mind, or you can ask your doctor for a recommendation.
  • Ask your doctor to give your medical history, including test results and any scans, such as x-rays, to the referred doctor or specialist.
  • For a health professional who does not require a referral from your doctor, you have the right to go ahead and organise an appointment with another health professional. However, if possible, take any test results or scans with you.

After you receive a referral, it is important to make the appointment as quickly as possible, so you can understand your diagnosis options sooner and make a decision about your treatment.

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