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, which was introduced in April 2009, lets you choose from any hospital offering a suitable treatment that meets NHS standards and costs.
You can choose a hospital according to what matters most to you, whether it's location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, visiting policies, parking facilities or patients’ comments.
A choice of hospital is available for most patients and in most circumstances. Exceptions include emergency and urgent services, cancer, maternity and mental health services.
There are no costs involved if you're an NHS patient. All the hospitals that you can choose from provide treatments to NHS patients free of charge, including the independent (private) ones.
Once I've made my choice, how do I book a hospital appointment?
If your GP refers you through the Choose and Booksystem, you'll be sent a password and reference number by the York House Medical Secretaries that allows you to book your appointment online or over the phone. The Choose and Book appointments line is open every day between 7am and 10pm:
NHS Choices - Your Rights to Choose