We are committed to ensuring that patients and the public are aware of their rights and the choices they have concerning their health and care so they can feel empowered to make decisions. There are choices in your lifestyle, decisions about your treatment, and even the way in which you interact with doctors and other health and care professionals that can all affect your wellbeing. To make sure you get the full benefit out of local services, it is really important to give careful consideration to all the options available to you.
You have probably already exercised your right to choose your GP surgery, and you may have been given the option of who your named GP is. You can also choose which dental surgery you go to or where to give birth. Click here to find local services near you. You have the right to be involved in decisions about your healthcare and to be given the information you need to do this. Read more about your choices within the NHS in the NHS Choice Framework.
Your health, your choice
Did you know that if your GP needs to refer you for a physical or mental health condition, in most cases you have the legal right to choose the hospital or service you’d like to go to? This includes NHS and many private hospitals that provide services to the NHS. You may also choose your consultant or named healthcare professional.
There are many reasons why you might prefer one service to another. Location, waiting times, clinical results and parking facilities are just some of the things that patients consider when choosing. Evidence shows that if you choose a service in which you feel comfortable and confident, you’re likely to improve both the result of your treatment and your experience while you’re in hospital. Even if you don’t mind where you go, it is important to know that you have a choice.
How do I choose?
You don’t have to make this decision alone. Your GP can help you compare information about hospitals or consultants, quality outcomes, waiting times and more. It might be better to take information away with you, do some research and decided later. Here are some tools to help you make an informed choice:
- Health A-Z – use the treatment pages of the Health A-Z to see the common treatment options for particular conditions and find links to specialist charities and patient groups in each area
- Scorecard – use this tool to compare hospitals according to a range of performance measures and facilities. You can view your results by treatment type
- NHS e-Referral Service – the online service that allows you to book your own hospital appointments
- Patient choice leaflet
- Easy read leaflets – easy read leaflets setting out patients’ rights to choice in healthcare
To read more about your choices, visit the NHS website or ask your GP.
NHS e-Referrals is now available for most East Sussex Healthcare Trust services, which means you can now book, change or cancel your appointment online for the majority of first hospital or clinic appointments at www.nhs.uk/referrals.
What if I am not offered a choice?
If you feel that you haven’t been offered choice, you should speak to the person who is referring you (your GP or consultant). If you still feel that you have not been offered choice, you can ask for the matter to be investigated by the local CCG. Click here for details of how to make a complaint.