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Choice is yours when it comes to healthcare

Date: 07/04/2008           Category: Medway PCT

Starting this month (April 2008), the majority of patients across Medway being referred to hospital will be able to choose where they wish to be treated. Free choice will give the majority of patients the option to choose any hospital in the country; patients may still choose to go to their local hospital. The Choose and Book system will support this new policy and the range of eligible providers will include all NHS foundation trusts, NHS acute trusts and a large number of independent sector hospitals. Medway GP Dr Nathan said: “This development really does mean patients will be able to exercise their right of choice for treatment more widely. This is a landmark development and demonstrates the NHS commitment to providing patient centred care.” There may be clinical reasons for limiting the range of choices that are available to patients and there are some services that fall outside the scope of the choice policy. Where speed of access is particularly important (for example, patients attending a rapid access chest pain clinic under the two week maximum waiting time), the policy does not apply. Maternity and mental health services are also currently exempt. For more information patients can call the appointments line on 0845 608 8888. Patients can also visit the NHS Choices website at www.nhs.uk or the Choose and Book patient website at www.chooseandbook.nhs.uk