Your health, your choice

We’re committed to making sure you’re aware of your rights and available choices concerning your health and care. This is important so you can feel empowered to make decisions.

There are choices in your lifestyle, decisions about your treatment, and even the way in which you interact with doctors and other health and care professionals that can all affect your wellbeing. To make sure you get the full benefit from local services, it’s really important to give careful consideration to all the options available to you.

You’ve probably already exercised your right to choose your GP surgery, and you may have been given the option of who your named GP is. You can also choose which dental surgery you go to or where to give birth. You have the right to be involved in decisions about your healthcare and to be given the information you need to do this. Read more about your choices within the NHS in the NHS Choice Framework.

Did you know that if your GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition, in most cases you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you’d like to go to? This includes NHS and many private hospitals that provide services to the NHS. You may also choose your consultant or named healthcare professional.

There are many reasons why you might prefer one service to another. Location, waiting times, clinical results and parking facilities are just some of the things you might consider. Evidence shows that if you choose a service in which you feel comfortable and confident, the result of your treatment and your experience while you’re in hospital are more likely to improve. Even if you don’t mind where you go, it’s important to know you have a choice.

You don’t have to make these decisions alone. Your GP can help you compare information about hospitals or consultants, quality, outcomes, waiting times and more. It might be better to take information away with you, do some research and decide later. Here are some tools to help you make an informed choice:

Health A-Z – use the treatment pages of the Health A-Z to see the common treatment options for particular conditions and find links to specialist charities and patient groups in each area

Scorecard – use this tool to compare hospitals according to a range of performance measures and facilities. You can view your results by treatment type

NHS e-Referral Service – this online service allows you to book your own hospital appointments

Patient choice leaflet

Easy read leaflets – easy read leaflets setting out patients’ rights to choice in healthcare

To read more about your choices, visit the NHS website or ask your GP.