Your health & local services

Your hospital appointment

If your GP needs you to see a specialist for an appointment or treatment, you can choose where to go from a range of NHS, private and independent hospitals across England.

This choice is available because Bristol CCG buys routine inpatient, day-case and outpatient services (referred to as planned or elective care) from a number of hospitals across the country on behalf of the community.

What’s the benefit of choice?

You can choose where and when to receive treatment according to what matters most to you.
For instance, you may want to visit a clinic that’s convenient to get to, or one that has a good reputation for treating your condition.

Or you may wish to see a specific consultant, or go back to a hospital where the doctors or nurses treated you well.

Will I always have choice?

Choice may not be available if:

  • you have suspected stroke, heart attack or cancer and need to be seen quickly
  • your preferred hospital or clinic doesn’t treat your condition

About referrals and choosing appointments

If you need to see a specialist, your GP will make a referral.

You will be sent an appointment request letter with advice and details on how to make your booking. 

The letter will suggest several hospitals or clinics that are either local to you or recommended by your GP practice for your condition.

Choosing a hospital

What you need to consider when choosing a hospital and what services are excluded from choice:

Hospital choice

Waiting times

You have the legal right to start your NHS consultant-led treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks from referral, unless you choose to wait longer or it’s clinically appropriate that you wait longer. Patients with urgent conditions such as cancer and heart disease will be able to see a specialist more quickly.

Hospital waiting times

Find out more about waiting times at NHS Choices:

Your rights in the NHS

Booking your appointment

You can book your appointment by calling your local Choice Support team on 01278 727440.  

Lines are open from 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday (charges from landlines and mobiles may vary).   

Getting to and from your appointment

It is usual for patients to make your own way to hospital by car or public transport.

See Bristol City Council’s community and voluntary transport options (for those with limited mobility):

Community transport

Patient transport service

The patient transport service provides planned, non-emergency transport to and from NHS hospitals and clinics, including outpatient departments, inter-hospital transfers, renal dialysis, oncology centres and your home.

It is only available for eligible patients for medical reasons.

Patient Transport Services