Patient Choice

Patients needing elective (planned) treatment will be offered a choice of at least four treatment providers once their GP has decided that a referral is required. These providers could be NHS trusts, foundation trusts, treatment centres, private hospitals or practitioners with a special interest operating within primary care.

Your GP may help by discussing the options with you, but you may want to make your choice based on a number of personal preferences.

Patients can choose which hospital they are seen in accordance with what matters to them most, whether it is location, waiting times, reputation, clinical performance, visiting policies, parking facilities or other patients’ comments.

A choice of hospital is available for most patients and in most circumstances. Exceptions include emergency and urgent services, cancer, maternity and mental health services. If you need to be seen urgently by a specialist (for example, if you have severe chest pain), your GP will send you where you’ll be seen most quickly.

As well as choosing where they go, patients will be able to choose when they go by phoning an appointments line, booking over the internet, or booking at their GP surgery.

Waiting Times

Under the rights of the NHS Constitution for England and the NHS Patient Choice Framework, patients have the right to start consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks, unless a patient chooses or it is clinically appropriate to wait longer. Clinical Commissioning Groups must provide advice or assistance to patients who have waited or will wait longer than 18 weeks.

For further information please see:

NHS Choices:
NHS England:

NHS Constitution:


The right to treatment is subject to various exceptions. In particular, the right to treatment within 18 weeks from referral will cease to apply in circumstances where:

• you choose to wait longer;
• delaying the start of your treatment is in your best clinical interests, for example where smoking cessation or weight management is likely to improve the outcome of the treatment;
• it is clinically appropriate for your condition to be actively monitored in secondary care without clinical intervention or diagnostic procedures at that stage;
• you fail to attend appointments which you had chosen from a set of reasonable options; or
• the treatment is no longer necessary.
• you have received first definitive treatment and are not on an 18 week pathway

Help us to Help You

As a patient, you can help contribute to the success of the NHS by being aware of your responsibilities. These include:

  • Upon referral to a consultant led service, ensure you are available to accept multiple appointments within an 18 week period at any NNUHFT site.
  • Attending blood tests, radiology and all appointments as required.
  • To collect equipment and carry out home assessments/tests where required within agreed timespans.
  • Keeping GP and hospital appointments, or if you have to cancel, doing so in good time to allow the slot to be reallocated to protect a precious resource.
  • Following the courses of treatment you have agreed to.
  • Inform the hospital of any changes to demographic details i.e. address change etc.
  • Inform the GP if medical condition improves or deteriorates.
  • Inform GP and Consultant if referral/treatment is no longer required.

Why choose us?

To find out more about the standard of care at our hospitals, visit NHS Choices where you will find  details about cleanliness, infection control, quality of care and the results of our Friends and Family test (where we ask hundreds of patients about their care each month).

Information on Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Information on Cromer and District Hospital.

More information

For more information on comparing hospitals, visit NHS Choices.

For more information about booking your appointment, visit Choose and Book.