If your GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition, the NHS Constitution says you can choose which hospital or service you go to.
You can view what choices are currently available to NHS patients in the NHS Choice Framework. This is also where you'll find information about when you can't choose, for example, if you need emergency care or if you are a member of the armed forces. We would recommend that you make sure you know which options apply to you.
The NHS Choice Framework provides information on choosing the following care and treatment:
- choice of GP
- choosing a hospital or consultant
- choosing a mental health service
- choices in maternity services
- choices in end of life care.
Visit the NHS Choice Framework for a full list of choices available and information on whether they are legal rights. You can also find information and support to help you choose.
The NHS Choices website also provides:
Patient-initiated digital mutual aid system (PIDMAS)
As part of the drive to reduce elective waiting lists, NHS trusts are now proactively contacting patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks*, and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, to consider their options to see if they could be seen sooner at a different hospital.
If you are eligible, then you will be contacted directly by the NHS trust or independent sector provider you are currently under the care of. They will then provide you with more information about the process.
Please do not contact your GP practice or NHS hospital proactively regarding this offer.
*some clinical exclusions apply.