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Patient Choice

Patient choice began when the NHS was founded in 1948, with patients able to choose their GP, optician and dentist. Your right to choose and the right to information to make that choice is now part of the NHS constitution. 

NHS Choice Framework

The NHS Choice Framework is a guide to your choices about your NHS care and treatment. It explains: 

  • when you have choices about your healthcare
  • where to get more information to help you choose
  • how to complain if you are not offered a choice


Below are some of the choices available locally to you but for more detail please read our Patient Access and Choice Policy, or talk to your existing GP.

Choosing your GP and GP practice

You can:

  • choose which GP practice you register with
  • ask to see a particular doctor or nurse at the GP practice.


Every effort to meet your choice of doctor or nurse must be made, although there are some occasions when this might not be possible

Choosing where to go for your first appointment as an outpatient 

If you need to see a consultant or specialist as an outpatient, you are able to choose to go to any hospital or clinic that offers NHS services. An outpatient appointment is one when you do not need to stay overnight. 

The person referring you for the outpatient appointment should discuss your choices with you and can book for you to have it at any of the NHS hospitals in England or any of the accredited independent providers in England as well as the Calais Hospital in France. 

Or you can also book it for yourself via the NHS e-referral service using the appointment request letter your GP gives you. Please note that Calais Hospital is not part of the e-referral service.

How to find out more information about choosing your treatment

The NHS provides an A-Z of health services near you, along with information on healthy living and social care. On MyNHS you can:

  • compare different hospitals according to what matters most to you, such as waiting times, patient safety, complaints or quality of food
  • read what other patients have said about the hospital or leave your own feedback
  • find out how a consultant performs for a particular procedure, or compare consultants from different hospitals before you make your choice for your first outpatient appointment