Also known as acute care, this refers to specialist medical care or surgery provided in a hospital setting either as an inpatient or outpatient service. Patients seen in hospitals are generally under the care of a consultant, not a GP.
The collective term for services to which a person is referred after first point of contact. Usually this refers to hospitals in the NHS offering specialised medical services and care (outpatient and inpatient services).
Services provided by medical specialists who generally do not have first contact with patients (e.g., cardiologist, urologists, dermatologists). In the U.S., however, there has been a trend toward self-referral by patients for these services, rather than referral by primary care providers. This is quite different from the practice in England, for example, where all patients must first seek care from primary care providers and are then referred to secondary and/or tertiary providers, as needed.