Photo: iStock

The legal right to patient choice is in force over a decade but less than half of the public is currently aware of their rights, a recent survey reveals.

According to the Populus survey, just 48 per cent of the UK public is aware of their right to choose hospitals while accessing NHS-funded treatment.

Four in ten offered a choice of hospital or clinic to go to for their first outpatient appointment. Fifty per cent of those aged 18 to 24 were most likely to be offered a choice of hospital or appointment. It is a major change from 2015 when they were least likely to be offered such a choice.

Among the West Midlanders, 52 per cent were most likely to have a choice offered to them. This was closely followed by those in London with 49 per cent.

“When NHS waiting times are at their highest in a decade, it is disappointing that patients’ awareness of their legal right to choose the fastest possible treatment for them remains so low,” David Hare Chief Executive of the Independent Healthcare Providers Network said.

He called for a renewed push to begin the patient power agenda.

“Making patients aware of their right to choose is not just the right thing to do but leads to tangible improvements in patient outcomes,” Hare added.