Care decisions

What is patient choice?

We put the people of Northamptonshire at the heart of decision making. The NHS Constitution allows our community to make choices about their own healthcare. It outlines our commitments to our patients and colleagues, and the responsibilities that they owe to one another to ensure that we operate fairly and effectively.

The NHS Choice Framework sets out patients’ rights to choice in healthcare, where to find information to help choose, and how to complain if choice is not offered.


How does it work?

Our patients can choose a GP practice to register with in their local area. They can also select a preferred NHS hospital to receive specialist care or to undergo an operation or procedure. In addition, our patients have the choice to access a variety of local community services.

People living in Northamptonshire can choose to be referred to a different hospital if they:

  • Have to wait more than 18 weeks before starting non-urgent treatment for a physical or mental health condition.
  • Have to wait two weeks before seeing a specialist for suspected cancer. 

In Northamptonshire we also offer a selection of maternity services.

We pride ourselves on giving our patients the opportunity to choose a preferred hospital or care service. However, we can refer them to a specific service or location if it is in the best interest of the patient.

Individuals who need emergency treatment or urgent care are exempt from choosing a preferred hospital. A full list of exemptions can be found on the NHS Choice Framework website.


How to make your choice

Our patients should make their decisions based on what matters most to them. We advise our patients to look at the location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, patient feedback, visiting policy and parking facilities before choosing a hospital or service.

GPs are available to help our patients choose the best option for them. The NHS Choice Framework website also has information on how to make informed decisions. A full list of available services can be found on the NHS services directory


If you are unhappy

If patients feel like they have not been offered a choice, they should speak to their GP or consultant. If they still feel like they have not been provided with their preferred choice, they can ask for the matter to be investigated by Northamptonshire Inetegrated Care Board. Please contact our patient experience team