Background: One of the key points of patient care is the cooperation between practice-based specialists and clinical facilities. The present study was undertaken in order to illustrate the deciding factors, from the viewpoint of practice-based specialists, for the referral of a female patient to a specific hospital. Methods: Altogether a total of 322 practice-based specialists from various disciplines were contacted in writing and sent a questionnaire. In this survey the recipients were questioned about the criteria, in order of importance, applied for the referral of a (female) patient to a specific clinical facility. Results: In the foreground for the referral of a patient to a specific hospital are the aspects of medical quality and competence. On a closer look we find the surgical spectrum, especially the availability of endoscopic and special operations as a main factor. Further factors are a low rate of complications and the availability of modern diagnostic methods. Also evaluated as an important aspect was the easy reachability of a competent consultant. Factors of lower relevance for referral behaviour were personal familiarity with the colleagues employed in the hospital, specific further training events and the course of previous cooperation. Conclusions: A modern diagnostic and therapeutic spectrum coupled with an easy reachability of competent contact partners are the main factors for cooperation from the viewpoint of the practice-based specialist. Of lowest relevance, among others, was the aspect of previous cooperation. Thus, it can be seen that by means of changes in cooperation an improvement in patient care can be achieved at any time.