What is Patient Choice?
Patient Choice is a government initiative introduced to give NHS patients more choice about where ,when and what time they are treated. NHS patients in England who require hospital treatment can now choose any participating hospital in the country that can meet their needs. One of your options could be a Ramsay Health Care hospital or treatment centre.
Since 2008, every person in the UK who is eligible for treatment under the National Health Service (NHS) can make a choice on where to have their treatment as long as it is clinically appropriate.
For the majority of us, this means that when we see our family Doctor and require a referral for further care, we can choose where to receive more specialist health care. We may choose a traditional General Hospital, however more and more people are asking to be treated in smaller, more specialised hospitals operated by the independent sector.
Blakelands Hospital is one of two independent hospitals in Milton Keynes, able to provide NHS and Private healthcare.NHS care can be chosen by a patient when they see either their GP, or when selecting their treatment through the E-Referral system (by making an appointment by telephone or through the E-Referral website).
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, Mr Cyril Marek, who is a specialist at Blakelands Hospital said “It is important for patients to realise that they do have a choice of where to be treated. It may be closer to their home or family, they may be in pain and want to be seen as quickly as possible and different hospitals have different waiting times.” Mr Marek went on to say “For some patients, it is important to see the same Consultant throughout the treatment, at Blakelands Hospital I see my patients in the initial consultation, I personally operate on them in theatre if they require surgery and I see them again for any follow up appointments. Consultant led care is very important to some people and this is what we provide here at Blakelands Hospital, along with free parking of course!”
However, many patients are still unaware that they have a choice where they could receive their specialist treatment and will be sent by default to the closest place of healthcare applicable. This could mean a longer wait for the treatment they require, or and in some cases more importantly, where other factors may have influenced their decisions, such as the number of cases of MRSA or other hospital acquired infections have occurred, or what reviews other patients or their families have made upon their treatment, either the clinical aspect or bedside manner!
It is always worth looking at what choices for treatment are open to you personally, seeking advice from friends or family regarding their experiences and looking up the healthcare provider on NHS Choices or their own website to see what comments people have left or whether they publish their Patient or Friends and Family surveys either on the website or as a leaflet in the local GP Surgeries.
The current Government Guidelines for NHS waiting time is 18 weeks. This means that from seeing your General Practitioner to receiving treatment has to be completed within a maximum of 18 weeks. Blakelands Hospital is able to complete that journey well within that timeframe.
The Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), who funds your NHS treatment, sets guidelines for waiting times within these maximums.
If you wish to have your Consultation, procedure or treatment sooner, you may wish to consider continuing your treatment as a private patient rather than remaining as an NHS patient.
This gives you an option to have your appointment or treatment at a date and time which is convenient to you and fits in with your family and work commitments.