If you, or someone you know, needs hospital treatment or tests, you now have a wide choice as to where and when you get it. You have free choice for hospital treatment and can choose to get treatment from any NHS hospital in England and a number of independent/private sector providers which have been entered as a choice on the NHS Choose and Book system. All hospitals and independent providers have to meet the same quality standards to be registered to give NHS care. You can also choose a date that suits you. You need a referral from your GP or other health professional to get hospital treatment.

Choose and Book

A new system called Choose and Book allows you to choose the place, date and time of your first out-patient appointment in a hospital or clinic. You can also use Choose and Book to change your appointment time to suit you. Your GP will explain how this works when she or he refers you to a hospital or clinic. Use the Choose and Book website to find out more or change your appointment time. You will need your reference number (shown at the top of your appointment letter) and your password (which your GP practice gave you). Please contact your GP practice if you do not have your letter or password.

Talk to your GP

Do talk to your GP about any hospital treatment or tests you need before thinking about where you want to go and when. Your GP can tell you about any follow-up care, rehabilitation, medication and tests you may need and how NHS waiting lists work. These issues are important to talk about with your GP as they may affect your overall care if you don’t choose a local hospital or if you change your appointment date. Your GP will be happy to go through these issues with you and give you her or his professional advice.

Choosing a hospital

For information about the local hospitals used by most Islington residents, look on their websites listed on the right hand side of this page. Better still, use the NHS Choices website to compare hospitals in terms of the quality of care they provide such as hospital infections rates (MRSA), if a surgical department has a lot of experience in a specific operation, waiting times and how patients rate the care they got. NHS Choices can also let you compare hospital facilities like car parking and disabled access.

Remember MRSA and other hospital acquired infections are very rare, are generally going down, and rates can go up and down in any one year and can vary across a hospital. If you are worried about MRSA or anything else relating to your hospital appointment or treatment, speak to your GP or contact the hospital Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) who are there to help you and answer your questions. All hospital have a PALS service which you can find on their website.

Patient views and feedback

You can also post comments on the NHS Choices website about your experience of using a particular hospital and see what other patients have said about that hospital. Patient feedback helps hospitals to improve their performance. We welcome feedback about your experience of hospitals. Please contact our Patient Advice and Complaints service to give feedback.

Hospital performance

If you want to find out about the performance of different hospitals and how patients have rated them over the last five years, you can use the NHS Choices website or the Care Quality Commission website. The Healthcare Commission is the independent inspection body for the NHS. It carries out national patient surveys and gives every hospital in England an annual rating (health check). It also publishes information about individual treatments and services like diabetes, maternity care and heart surgery survival rates. Remember hospitals are very large organisations so if you see an overall rating for a hospital, it may not relate to every single site, area, or speciality.

Top Tips

  • Discuss hospital treatment and tests with your GP.
  • Use the NHS Choices website to choose your hospital, compare hospitals and give feedback on your experience.
  • Use the hospital PALS service to ask specific questions.
  • Use the Care Quality Commission website to compare performance.
  • Use the Choose and Book website to change your appointment to suit you.
  • Give us feedback on your experience using our Patient Advice and Complaints service.

Local Hospitals

Useful websites