Patient choice in healthcare – your right to choose

As an NHS patient you have a legal right to choose your hospital.

Smiling patient on ward

Did you know you have the right to choose where to have your NHS surgery?

If you or a loved one needs to see an NHS specialist, you can choose to access any hospital or treatment centre in England. You could even switch hospitals, having already been referred somewhere, if you are waiting for too long. This patient choice is a legal right for NHS patients.

What is patient choice in healthcare?

Patient choice in health and social care is the legal right of a patient to choose where they receive their treatment. In other words, if you need to be referred due to a mental or physical health condition, you have the legal right to choose which hospital or service you’d like to attend.

Can a patient choose where to be treated?

It is a patient’s legal right to choose where they receive their healthcare. Patients should be offered a choice of hospitals and services by their GP. This can include private hospitals. One of the main reasons that patients may ask to switch hospitals is waiting times. If their closest hospital waiting list is unsatisfactory, they can switch to a different one. Patients can ask to be referred to a different hospital if they have to wait longer than 18 weeks for non-urgent treatment.

Do patients have the right to choose their treatment?

According to the NHS constitution, patients have the right to choose their GP surgery and make choices about their health and care. Patients can also choose the organisation that provides their integrated care. They also have the choice of when they want to start their hospital treatment.

Why is patient choice important?

Patient choice is important because it gives you choice and control over your health and the decisions related to your treatment. The freedom to make an informed decision, and select the right choice for our individual needs, is important to a patient’s experience and recovery; both these things are better when we feel confident and comfortable with where we receive treatment.

Read our tips on choosing where to have your NHS treatment.

Enabling choice in health and social care

Promoting choice in health and social care can prove beneficial to both patients and resources.

First, patients benefit from understanding the care and support that’s available to them. This control over their healthcare can improve both mental and financial wellbeing.

Enabling choice also benefits healthcare professionals. Involving patients in decisions around their care helps to correctly allocate resources. This can subsequently alleviate the pressures on hospitals and services.

For more information on patient choice, you can visit the NHS England website or find your local Practice Plus Group Hospital.

You may be interested in…

Wellsoon self-pay surgery

Choose Wellsoon self-pay surgery from Practice Plus Group. With no hidden costs, you’ll pay less than you might think and be back to your best sooner than you thought.

  • Surgery in 4 to 6 weeks*
  • No hidden costs
  • Flexible finance options
Wellsoon self-pay surgery from Practice Plus Group logo, click to find out more

To chat about Wellsoon self-pay surgery options, call our Private Patient Advisors today, on 0330 818 8945. Alternatively, you can email us on


Thumbs-up icon

treatments carried out a month


Star icon

or 'good' ratings by CQC



clean record for hospital acquired infections


Thumbs-up icon

of patients recommend Practice Plus Group

What our patients are saying

See all reviews

Knee surgery, Plymouth – leading an active life once again

Thanks for performing total knee replacement on me. Due to your excellent skills I am improving daily and leading an active life once again!
by Chris Roberts

Hip surgery, Shepton Mallet – we have saved £6,500

My wife had a total hip replacement yesterday at Practice Plus Group Hospital, Shepton Mallet. They were absolutely brilliant and if like me you maybe needing surgery but on a long waiting list and considering going private, they are definitely worth getting a quote from. We have saved £6,500 by going to them and not another private hospital. Her consultation was 27th May, operation 13th June, home on 14th.
by Mr Antoniou,

Cataract surgery, Devizes – cannot fault the care and attention

My wife recently had a cataract operation here and cannot fault the care and attention given to her by all the staff involved.

by Chris Longdon, Google

Hip surgery, Barlborough – I would recommend Practice Plus Group without a shadow of a doubt

I was particularly pleased with how well-mannered and attentive everyone was. I had my hip replacement operation at 11.30am and when I came out of surgery, a meal was waiting for me. I was told that if my blood test looked good and the surgeon was happy with me when he saw me at 5pm I could go home that night, and that’s what happened. It was seamless.
by Terence Watson

Knee replacement, Southampton – absolutely wonderful

I had a knee replacement in May 2022. I have to say that all of the staff from the consultant, the nursing staff and the entire team were absolutely wonderful.

by Susan Farmer

Cataract surgery, Gillingham – everyone very friendly

I went for my cataract assessment today and found everyone very friendly and I was put at ease about the procedure. I feel very relaxed to know that I’ll be in good hands when the time for my surgery arrives.
by Sandra Church, Google

Hip surgery, Barlborough – aftercare was brilliant!

I went in for my new hip and was out within 3 days! The aftercare was also brilliant – 10/10!

by Peter

Knee surgery, Barlborough – amazing facility

This was my 2nd time as an inpatient at Barlborough for knee replacement surgery and in my opinion you couldn’t have this surgery at a better place. It is truly outstanding.

by Joy Lesley Wright

Cataract surgery, Portsmouth – exceedingly courteous and helpful

Appointments staff exceedingly courteous and helpful getting both my elderly parents booked in for appointments on the same day and directly after each other, for eye surgery.

by Paula Stubbs, Google

1 / 9

News and blogs