From the New Year, for the first time in the history of the NHS, all eligible patients across England will have the right to exercise choice over where and when they get hospital treatment.
In one of the most fundamental reforms of NHS services, patients have the right to be offered the choice of at least four hospitals or clinics when they need to see a specialist for further treatment. This new way of using the NHS means that patients are given the power to choose faster and better treatment – driving up standards across the NHS.
Depending upon the speciality, Island patients will be given the choice of receiving their treatment on the Island at St Mary’s Hospital, or at Portsmouth, Southampton, North Hampshire, Salisbury or Bournemouth.
Once a decision has been made by the GP to refer the patient, the GP will discuss the clinically appropriate choices available. Patients can either decide during their consultation with their GP which hospital is right for them or they can choose to access more information to enable them to make their choice.
New booklets have been introduced to help patients make their choice, the booklets, which are available from GP surgeries, contain comparative information about local hospitals including information about waiting times, MRSA rates, access and cancelled operations. Patients can also obtain information about hospital waiting times, location, travel distance, facilities and patient services from the local Referral Support Centre which has been set up to help patients through the choice process.
By 2008 patients will be able to choose from any hospital or provider which meets NHS standards at NHS costs.