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What is Choose and Book

Choose and Book is a national electronic referral service which gives patients a choice of place, date and time for their first outpatient appointment in a hospital or clinic.

When you and your GP agree that you need an appointment, you can choose which hospital or clinic you go to. These may be local, but you can also choose from a 'national menu' of hospitals and clinics from across England. You can make this choice according to what matters most to you, whether it's 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.

For more information, visit NHS Choices.

How does Choose and Book work?

When you and your GP agree that you need an appointment with a specialist, Choose and Book shows your GP which hospitals or clinics are available for your treatment. Your GP discusses with you the clinically appropriate options that are available for treating your medical condition.

If you know where and when you would like to be seen, you may be able to book your appointment before you leave the surgery. You will be given confirmation of the place, date and time of your appointment.

You may want more time to consider your choices. If so, you can take the Appointment Request letter away with you and book your appointment later.  Your Appointment Request letter lists your unique booking reference number, your NHS number and a list of hospital or clinic options for you to choose from. Your GP practice will also give you a password with your Appointment Request letter.

You can then decide how you wish to book your appointment; via the telephone, using the national number on the letter or via the internet. 

Please note: Whilst the vast majority of appointments can be booked this way, in some cases you will need to telephone the hospital directly to make your appointment.