Less than half patients aware of right to choose hospital when accessing NHS treatment, according to poll

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24th April 2019 17:53 - Health

Less than half patients aware of right to choose hospital when accessing NHS treatment: A survey asking people about outpatient appointments after being referred for treatment has revealed more than half (55%) of those who had seen a GP in the last 12 months and who had been referred for an outpatient appointment (2,313) had not been offered a choice of hospital or clinic.

The survey also found that patients aged between 18-24 were the most likely group to be offered a option to choose where they recieved trearment (50%), a contrast to the data in 2015 which revealed them to be least likely. 

The findings also revealed the regions where patients are most lilkely to be offered a choice with the West Midlands coming out top (52%), closely followed by London (49%).

When asked if they knew they had a choice of NHS hospital before visiting their GP more than half said they did not (52%) despite them having the legal right to do so for over a decade.

The data shows older patients (65+) are more in the know about the right to choose where they attend their first outpatient appointment, with six in ten saying they were aware of their right (61%). This compares to just over a third of patients aged 35-44 years (39%).

The study also showed that of those who were referred for an appointment and were offered a choice of hospital or clinic, almost a quarter said their GP was the most important source of information when choosing a hospital (24%) a reduction of 12 percentage points on the same question in 2015. Over a third (36%) said their own experiences were their main source of information, up from 31% four years ago.

Other sources selected were the NHS Choices Website (10%), friends or family (9%), a booklet/leaflet about their choices (6%) and staff at a referral centre (3%). 

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