Promoting and Offering Choice

Introduced in April 2009, Patients now have the legal right to choose which hospital provider in England offering a suitable treatment that meets NHS standards and costs they are referred to by their GP.

Patients can choose which hospital they are seen in according to what matters most to them, whether it’s location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, visiting policies, parking facilities or other 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.

If the patient needs to be seen urgently by a specialist (for example, if the patient has severe chest pain), the GP will send the patient where they will be seen most quickly.

Promoting choice

During the consultation, the patient is given sufficient information in an appropriate form to allow them to make choices in relation to their health needs. Patients will be invited to ask questions and will be asked about their views about their care, treatment needs, options and management plan which will documented in their Patient Record. Patients are given time to make a decision/choice about their treatment.

Social and cultural diversity, values and beliefs that may influence the patient’s decision about their care are recognised and respected. All the Practice’s patients know how to raise a concern or complaint about the service received and how it will be dealt with.

Periodic feedback from patients is sought through, for example, patient surveys, general discussion and the Patient Participation Group.