Patient Choice

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The NHS Constitution  gives you the right to make choices about aspects of your healthcare. 

Your rights are explained in the NHS Choice Framework.

Choosing my GP

You have a right to register with a GP practice of your choice within your local area.

Choosing my hospital or community service

You have a right to choose an NHS hospital to provide a specialist opinion or carry out an operation or procedure.

A range of local community services are available which have been commissioned by your local CCG.

Choosing an alternative hospital if you are waiting too long for certain types of healthcare?

You can ask to be referred to a different hospital, if you have to wait more than:

  • 18 weeks before starting non-urgent treatment for a physical or mental health condition.
  • 2 weeks before seeing a specialist for suspected cancer.

Choosing my maternity unit

Your local CCG must offer you a choice of maternity services.

To take part in approved health research.

To have a Personal Health Budget for certain NHS services if you have a specified long-term condition or disability.

Subject to certain conditions, the right to receive treatment which is normally available to you on the NHS, in other countries within the European Economic Area (EEA).

Do I always have a choice of hospital or service?

Choice is available for most referrals, however there are some exceptions, for example urgent or emergency treatment. Full details of exceptions can be found on the NHS Choice Framework website.

Which hospital or service should I choose?

You should make your decision based on what matters most to you. Location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, patient feedback, visiting policy and parking are all factors that may influence your choice of hospital or service. If you are uncertain then ask your GP to help you choose.

To help inform your choice, you can search for services on the NHS services directory

The NHS Choice Framework website also has information on how to make informed decisions.

What can I do if I am not offered choice?

If you feel you haven't been offered choice, you should speak to the person who is referring you (your GP or consultant) in the first instance.  If you still feel that you have not been offered choice, you can ask for the matter to be investigated by your local CCG. 

Last updated: 18/05/2022