If your GP refers you to a specialist, you usually have the right to choose which hospital you go to.

You can choose a hospital in your area – or one further away if you wish. You may also choose an independent hospital, if it provides services for the NHS.

You have the right to choose your hospital, but if you prefer, you can ask your GP to help you decide.

The benefits of choice

Choosing where to go for your care helps you make health and care decisions based on things important to you. These might include:

  • Waiting times – you might choose a hospital outside your area if they can see you sooner.
  • Convenience – you might choose a hospital near where you live or work, if it makes it easier to attend appointments.
  • Near family or friends – you might choose a hospital close to family and friends, so they can support you during your treatment and recovery.
  • Recommendations – you might choose a hospital based on quality ratings, reviews, personal experience or recommendations.

How Patient Choice works

Step one
You have a health concern and visit your GP, who advises you see a specialist. Your GP looks up services suitable for you and your condition.

Step two
Your GP practice will help you make a shortlist of suitable providers, based on your condition and what is important to you. You can be referred straight away by your GP practice, if you already know where you want to go. If you want more time to decide, your GP practice will give you a letter, or send you an email or text including a link to a website, where you can choose and confirm later.

Step three
If you have a link from your GP practice, you can make your choice online or you can choose using the NHS App. You can also phone the National Referral Helpline on 0345 608 8888.

Step four
If an appointment with your chosen hospital is not available online, your chosen hospital will contact you directly with an appointment date and time when one
becomes available. When choosing your hospital, it is important to remember you may need to attend several appointments.

Translated leaflets providing information on patient choice are available. View BengaliPunjabi and Urdu translation leaflets.