Not just the UK. My local medical monopoly has the same situation as you have in the UK. I cannot see any specialist without a referral and then the wait to see the specialist can be several months (although not always). It pisses me off when my GP doesn't see the need for evaluation by a specialist because s/he doesn't understand ME/CFS. I've had to get a referral from my ME/CFS specialist 1000 miles away several times now.