Just 51% Of Patients Aware Of 'Right To Choice' On Care

Outpatient Appointments Can Take Place At Facilities Chosen By Patients

08.08.2014

Dave Grimshaw, Press Officer | 0114 274 4397
Just over half (51 per cent) of patients in England are aware they have the right to choose where they are treated and receive care, according to new figures.

A survey conducted by health regulator Monitor and NHS England revealed many are unaware they can pick which hospital or clinic they attend for outpatient appointments.

It was discovered that just two-fifths of patients were offered a choice of medical facilities by their GP when being referred for outpatient care.

NHS England said it is important patients are offered their choice of hospital or clinics for outpatient appointments as it is their legal right to choose. The organisation added that some patients are offered a range of options, but this varied across England.

Ian Dodge, national director for commissioning strategy at NHS England, said that every patient must be given the opportunity to exercise their right to pick where they have appointments.

Expert Opinion
Every patient in England should be able to exercise their right to choose a hospital or clinic for their treatment and the fact many are unaware of this is troubling. In many cases the opportunity to choose facility means patients receive treatment quickly and can avoid long waiting lists at some hospitals and clinics.

“We have seen first-hand the consequences suffered by patients who have faced long waits or delays in treatment and the seriousness of this issue cannot be underestimated.

“However, while some patients are being given the opportunity to choose where they receive treatment, it is important this right is provided to all. The NHS needs to do more to make patients across England aware of their right to control their own healthcare and it is unacceptable to see variations in the way that this is effectively communicated to patients in different areas.”
Mandy Luckman, Partner