The majority of residents of west Hampshire aren’t aware that they can choose which hospital they are referred to, NHS analysis shows.

West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has therefore launched a campaign to tell people about their right to choice. This legal right means that patients can choose from any hospital offering a suitable treatment for their condition that meets NHS standards and costs.

Dr Sean Watters, Clinical Director at West Hampshire CCG commented: ‘We know that people traditionally tend to go to their nearest hospital when they are referred by their GP, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Evidence shows that if you choose a hospital in which you feel comfortable and confident, both the result of your treatment and your experience while you’re in hospital are likely to be better.

‘There are actually many reasons why you might prefer one hospital to another and you can choose according to what matters most to you. That could be location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, visiting policies, parking facilities, GP advice or patients’ comments.’

The CCG is therefore actively encouraging patients to consider the options with their GP to ensure that they make the best choice for their circumstances.

The campaign also highlights that if a patient needs to see a consultant or specialist and has to wait longer than 18 weeks, they have the right to ask to go to another hospital.

The CCG, which plans and buys the health care for almost 546,000 residents in west Hampshire wants patients to understand their rights and how best to exercise them. Therefore, members of the public will see advertising in newspapers and around the community including at GP practices, libraries, pharmacies, community centres and schools encouraging them to learn more about their right to choose.

For more information about choice, the campaign and the work done by West Hampshire CCG please visit our website