Choosing a Hospital

Choosing a Hospital

If your doctor decides to refer you to a hospital for an outpatient appointment, in most cases you can choose to go anywhere in England and you are entitled to be treated within 18 weeks of the referral being received.

You can also choose a specific consultant if appropriate, and may be referred to a private provider of health services outside the NHS at no cost to yourself.


You don’t have to do this on your own. Shropshire has a Referral Assessment Service (RAS) that will help you.

If your doctor decides you need a hospital referral, you don’t need to do anything; they will inform RAS, and RAS will then contact you.  The team will talk to you about the range of options you have and help find the best one for you.

The Shropshire RAS team will be happy to try and answer any queries you have; you can contact them by telephone on 0330 0248 283 or by email on

If you think there has been a delay in your treatment, you have not been offered choice or you would like more information, you can contact the booking team on 0330 0248 283.

Choice of hospital may not always be appropriate.  Speed can sometimes be more necessary than choice for important medical reasons.  These include:

  • Emergency attendances or admissions
  • Patients attending a Rapid Access Chest Pain Clinic under the 2 week maximum waiting time
  • Patients attending cancer services under the 2 week maximum waiting time

Mental health and maternity services are also excluded from Patient Choice although your GP may offer you a choice of providers if you are referred for these services.

You can compare the performance of different hospitals on the NHS website.

For more information on your rights as a patient please see the NHS Constitution.