It is a Medicare requirement that to claim the Medicare rebate you require a referral made out to the specialist from either your GP or Optometrist. The referral will be valid for a 12 month period. Other specialists can also provide a referral – but please note these referrals only last 3 months. While you can still be seen without a referral you will not be able to claim the Medicare rebate towards the cost of the consultation. Also it is good medical practice for written communication to occur between the various members of the health care team.