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Patient choice

You have the right to choose the organisation that provides your NHS care when you are referred for your first outpatient hospital appointment, with a service led by a consultant.

You can choose the hospital with the best reputation or shortest waiting times, or simply the one that is most convenient for you. Perhaps you'll want to go somewhere away from home but close to your family. Perhaps good parking facilities are vital for you. Waiting lists, cleanliness, reputation... these can all be considered in your decision. The choice is yours.

NHS Choices is a website that can help you when making your choice. It allows you to select a wide range of different hospitals and compare them on the criteria that matter most to you.

Find and compare hospitals by visiting the NHS Choices website.

You do not have to make the decision yourself. If you prefer, your GP can still make the choice for you and recommend a hospital for your treatment.

You may not be given a choice if referred to mental health services, obstetrics services or where speed of access is important, such as suspected stroke, heart attack or cancer.

Not all hospitals treat every medical condition and in some cases patients may need to be referred to a more specialised service.

Click here to see a poster explaining the choices available to you when you are referred for treatment.

And click here for a leaflet giving more detail about the choices you can make when your GP refers you for treatment.