Your choices for treatment

The NHS Constitution sets out when you have a legal right to choice about treatment and care in the NHS. Although the legal right to choice doesn’t apply to all healthcare services, even when you don’t have the legal right to choice, you should still be offered some choices depending on what’s available locally.

Once you have had a discussion with your doctor about what treatment is right for you, you then have the right (in the majority of cases) to choose where you go for that treatment.

What choices do we have?

When making a choice about where you go for treatment, you'll often discuss the options with your doctor or another healthcare professional.

If you need to go to hospital to see a specialist, you have the right to choose which hospital you're referred to by your GP. This legal right lets you choose from any hospital offering a suitable treatment that meets NHS standards and costs.

You also have the right to request which consultant and team will be in charge of your treatment for your first appointment at the hospital.

The hospital you choose for your first appointment is likely to be the same place you'll receive treatment, should you need it. You should therefore think about any treatment that could follow on from your initial appointment, and where you would like that to be carried out, when you make your choice.

There are some healthcare services where you cannot make choices, such as cancer services, maternity, and specialist services.

Sometimes they will make the referral at your appointment after discussing the options with you, but on other occasions you will be able to book yourself using the NHS e-Referral system. 

Referral Support Team

When you need to be seen by a specialist, the CCG is committed to ensuring that whenever possible you receive a timely outpatient appointment at a provider of your choice.

To help you to make the most appropriate choice, we are working with the Referral Support Team.

After you have seen your GP, and together you have agreed that you need to be referred for specialist treatment, your GP practice will forward your referral to the Referral Support Team at the CCG who, using the NHS e-Referral System will help you to make an informed choice.

In accordance with the NHS Constitution, you have the right to choose when and where you wish to be treated and in a timely manner.

Your GP will provide you with a booking card and a telephone number for you to contact the team (the lines are open 11-4 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, excluding bank holidays). You are then asked to contact the Referral Support Team five days after seeing your GP so they can work with you to book your appointment.

Following discussion with you, the Referral Support Team will send your referral on to the hospital or community provider of your choice, who will then contact you to confirm your appointment. If you do not make contact with the Referral Support Team within 10 days of the team receiving your referral then an appointment may be booked for you.

If you have any concerns or questions about your information being passed to the Referral Support Team then please speak to a member of the practice team.

Information will only be shared when you have agreed with your GP that a referral is the best course of action.

Websites to help you make a choice

There are a number of websites that can help you to find out more about places where you could be treated, helping you to make a decision on where to be referred:

  • NHS website: the national NHS website holds a lot of information to help you make choices, including directories of NHS services across England and patient feedback and comments on services across the country.
  • Care Opinion: an independent website that shares patients' experiences of health services across the country. Read what others have said about services you are considering.
  • iWantGreatCare: ratings and reviews from patients about NHS hospitals, GP surgeries, dental surgeries, community services, nursing homes, and hospices.