Patients do have a genuine choice

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HAVING read the letter from Mrs Pounds (“Patient’s bitter pill”, 09/06/11), I would like to highlight some of the choices available in the NHS.

When a patient is recommended by a GP to see a consultant, the patient may choose which hospital or clinic they wish to go to.

A wide range of factors may be considered; for example, location, reputation, cleanliness, waiting times, travel and parking facilities – whatever is most important to the patient.

The choice is not restricted to local providers. You can choose from any hospital in England offering a suitable treatment that meets NHS standards and costs, and this will sometimes include independent providers; for example, Goring Hall.

Patients can also choose the date and time of their appointment if the referral is made through the electronic referral system called Choose and Book.

Further information on Choice in the NHS (including details of when choice is not appropriate) can be found on the NHS Choices website www.nhs.uk

Jackie Brown

Choose and Book lead

NHS West Sussex