Your right to choose

A GP writing a note

When your GP refers you to a consultant you may choose the hospital.

You may wish to go to the nearest hospital or one with the lowest waiting times, the best feedback, or the most convenient to you.

You can discuss this with your GP, who can give you professional advice based on your medical history or condition and this may also help you choose.

You can find more detail on NHS Choices and by reading through reports on the Care Quality Commission website.

Information about waiting times and quality of services is published in our Board papers here.

Your rights as a patient are set out in the NHS Constitution. It covers how to access local health service, the quality of care you should receive and how to complain when you are unhappy with a service.

What other rights do I have?

A GP surgery in action

If you need to see a consultant or a specialist and you have to wait longer than 18 weeks, you have the right to ask to go to a different hospital. The length of time to see a specialist for cancer is much shorter. This means if you have cancer and cannot see your specialist for two weeks, you have the right to ask to go to a different hospital.

There will be occasions when you are not allowed to change hospital. For example if you choose to wait longer for your treatment to start or it is in your best interest to delay the start of treatment, you cannot change hospital.

Your GP may decide you need a specialist test. You have the right to choose to have this done by anyone – as long as it is a NHS service in England.

Some of the choices you have depend on where you live. This includes certain community services and maternity services. Speak to your GP to find out more.

The organisation which is arranging your treatment is often responsible for offering you these choices.

Information about patient choice in other languages:

Visit the NHS Choices website and select the language you require from the ‘Translate’ link on the top right hand side of each webpage. Written information on the NHS Choices website can be translated into the most commonly spoken languages in West Hampshire including Polish, Nepali, Hindi and Punjabi.

Information about patient choice in easy read:

Choice at six months

In the 'NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2019/20' there is a new requirement on NHS Trusts and CCGs that states:

"Patients will continue to have choice at the point of referral and for 2019/20 new local arrangements must be put in place so that anyone who has been waiting for six months or longer must be specifically contacted by the provider on whose waiting list they appear, or by the responsible CCG and given the option of faster treatment at an alternative provider."

For further information please contact NHS West Hampshire CCG on

Freephone: 0800 456 1633



West Hampshire CCG
Omega House
112 Southampton Road
SO50 5PB