Choosing a hospital or consultant
If you are referred to a specialist, you have the right to choose which hospital or clinic to go to for your outpatients appointments. You are also able to choose which consultant-led team will be in charge of your treatment, as long as that team provides the treatment you require.
Therefore, if you wish to be treated by a particular consultant for a procedure, you can choose to have your outpatient appointments at the hospital where the consultant works, and to be treated by that consultant’s team – but this doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be seen by the consultant themselves.
This choice is a legal right, if you are not offered a choice at the point of referral, ask your doctor why and say that you wish to go through your options.
You do not have a legal right to choice if:
- you need urgent or emergency treatment
- you are serving in the armed forces
- you are accessing maternity services
- you are detained under the Mental Health Act
- you are detained in or on temporary release from prison, in court, an immigration removal centre, or a secure children’s home
- if you are referred to high security psychiatric services or drug and alcohol misuse services provided by local authorities
How to book your appointment
Once you have decided on a hospital, you could book your first outpatient appointment through the NHS e-Referral Service. This can happen in the following ways:
- your GP can book it while you’re at the surgery
- you can book it online using the Appointment Request letter your GP gives you
- you can phone the NHS e-Referral Service line on 0345 60 88 88 8 (open Monday-Friday, 8am to 8pm and on weekends and bank holidays 8am to 4pm)
There are lots of places that you can access to get general health advice. NHS Choices has helpful advice on a wide range of health care issues
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