If your GP refers you, you have the right to choose

Did you know that in many cases you have the legal right to choose where you have your NHS treatment? The NHS is offering more and more options to enable you to make choices that best suit your circumstances, giving you greater control of your care and hopefully better results.

You can view what choices are currently available to NHS patients in the NHS Choice Framework on GOV.UK. Here you'll also 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.

Did you know?

If your GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition then in most cases you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you'd like to go to. This will include many private hospitals as long as they provide services to the NHS and it doesn't cost the NHS any more than a referral to a traditional NHS hospital.

You can also choose a clinical team led by a consultant or named healthcare professional, as long as that team provides the treatment you require. For more information see our sections about choosing a hospital or consultant and choosing a mental health service.

You can book your appointment via the NHS e-Referral service. You can book while you are at the GP surgery or online using the shortlist of hospitals or services provided in your Appointment Request letter. The shortlist is selected by your GP so make sure you tell them about your preferences during the appointment.

More useful information from the NHS choices website:

Choice of GP

Choosing a hospital or consultant

Choosing a mental health service

Choices in maternity services

Choices in end of life care

Every NHS patient should be actively involved in the decisions about their care and treatment. Go to the NHS choices website to find out more about patient choice.