North East London Health & Care Partnership logo

Choosing where to have your treatment

Did you know that in many cases you have the legal right to choose where you have your NHS treatment?

If your GP needs to refer you to see a specialist 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.

You can choose to go to a hospital in your area, or one further away if you wish. You can also choose from many private hospitals if they provide services to the NHS and it does not cost the NHS any more than a referral to a standard NHS hospital.

You can also choose a clinical team led by a consultant or named healthcare professional, as long as that team provides the treatment you require.

The benefits of choice

Choosing where to go for your care helps you make health and care decisions based on things that are important to you. The benefits of this means:

  • You could be seen sooner if you choose a hospital outside your area
  • You could be seen closer to home if you choose a hospital near where you live or work
  • You could choose somewhere based on recommendations if you want to pick a hospital based on quality ratings, reviews or personal experience.
  • You could be seen somewhere close to family or friends so they can support you during your treatment and recovery.

Step 1:

You have a health concern and visit your GP. Your GP advises you to see a specialist and looks up services suitable for you and your condition.

Step 2:

Your GP practice will help you make a shortlist of suitable providers, based on your condition and what is important to you.

Step 3:

You can be referred straight away by your GP practice, if you already know where you want to go. If you want more time to decide, your GP practice will give you a letter, or send you an email or text including a link to a website, where you can choose and confirm later.

Step 4:

You can book an appointment to see your specialist by following the link from your GP practice and booking online or you can use the NHS App or call the National e-Referral Service online helpline 0345 608 8888.

Further information

For further information please visit the NHS England  Your choices in the NHS web page.

On the NHS Choices website you can also find:


Leave feedback about this page

If you would like to leave feedback about how useful you found the content on this page, please complete the form below.