Common Health Question
The NHS Constitution gives people living in England the right to choose where to receive treatment. You have the right to:
This also means you can choose the organisation that provides your NHS care when you're referred for your first appointment with a consultant. So if your GP recommends that you see a specialist, you can choose where and when to see them.
The NHS e-Referral Service is an electronic booking service for people living in England. It allows you to choose from different hospitals and clinics across England (including some private hospitals).
If you're unsure about which hospital or clinic to choose, your GP can advise you on what might be the best choice for you.
Find and choose hospitals is the most sophisticated hospital comparison system in the UK. It allows you to compare hospitals using a wide range of factors, including:
There are some exceptions that may limit your choice, for example, not all hospitals are able to treat every condition and a hospital must meet NHS conditions on standards and costs.
You also cannot choose when and what services to use in cases where speed of access to diagnosis and treatment is particularly important, such as:
The following people cannot choose where to receive treatment:
For more on choosing treatments, see Your choices in the NHS.