If your GP needs you to see a specialist for an appointment or treatment, you can choose where to go from a range of NHS, private and independent hospitals across England.
This choice is available because the CCG buys routine inpatient, day-case and outpatient services (referred to as planned or elective care) from a number of hospitals across the country on behalf of the community.
Normally your GP will refer you to a local service, which in most cases will be the best option. However, you can ask your GP to refer you, for example, to a hospital that might be able to see you more quickly.
Click here to see the average waiting times of nearby hospitals.
If you would like more information, NHS England has produced a leaflet detailing your right to choose, which is available for download here.
You have the right to start treatment within 18 weeks from referral, unless you choose to wait longer or it’s clinically appropriate that you wait longer.
Patients with urgent conditions such as cancer and heart disease will be able to see a specialist more quickly.