NHS patients in England will have the freedom to choose, not only where, but who provides their hospital care from April 2012, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley announced on 11 October 2011.

The DH has published guidance in advance of the implementation of patient choice for a named consultant-led team by April next year. This has been informed by the Government's response to this section of the Greater choice and control consultation.

Key points include:  

  • NHS providers have requirements to accept all clinically appropriate referrals;
  • provide lists of named consultant teams for all services on choose and book and publish information to facilitate choice;
  • commissioners are expected to promote choose and book, enable all referrers to have access to that system and ensure all patients have sufficient information; and
  • the Government has committed to evaluating and potentially revising the list of services excluded from choice as further initiatives are introduced; services currently excluded from choice of consultant-led team are:
    • accident and emergency services;
    • cancer services, which are subject to the two week maximum waiting time;
    • maternity services;
    • mental health services; and
    • any other services where it is necessary to provide urgent care.