Choice of care

One of the 12 statements in our document, Care and treatment: your rights and choices covering the rights and services that a person with epilepsy can expect.

Care and treatment: your rights and choices says: ‘You have a right to choose who provides your care.’ You can choose which hospital to go to, and can ask for a second opinion about your health condition or treatment.

National guidelines

The NHS Constitution says:

"You have the right to make choices about the services commissioned by NHS bodies and to information to support these choices."

When you are referred for a first outpatient appointment (where you do not stay in hospital overnight) with a service led by a consultant, you have the right to choose where you go (such as the hospital you go to). This does not include emergency admissions (such as going to A&E).

You can find information to help you decide where you would like to go at NHS Choices. This includes information on the services offered by different hospitals.

Choose and book

Some GPs offer the NHS e-Referral Service. This is an electronic referral system which allows you to choose which hospital you want to go to, from any NHS hospital in England (including some private hospitals). You can see information about each hospital, and book the date and time of your appointment, online.

You can ask for a second or ‘further’ opinion

Although you do not have a legal right to receive a second (or ‘further’) opinion, you can ask your GP or hospital doctor or consultant to be referred to another doctor for their opinion on your health condition.

You might want a second opinion about your health condition, your diagnosis or your treatment options. If you talk to your current doctor about why you feel a second opinion would be helpful, they may be able to answer any questions you have or explain anything you are not sure about. If you still feel that you want a second opinion, you can ask your GP to refer you either to another GP or for a re-referral to another hospital doctor. The person you are referred to will know that you have been referred for a second opinion, and will usually have access to any results from tests that you have already had.

You might also find that your GP or doctor asks a colleague to give a second opinion, if they feel it would be helpful.

Find out more about  asking for a second opinion

Information produced: January 2019

Our care and treatment: your rights and choices leaflet

Get a copy of Care and treatment: your rights and choices


Download Care and treatment: your rights and choices.

Alternatively, our quick guide Care and treatment: your rights and choices summarises the key points.