Change your hospital and switch waiting lists

If you have to endure increasingly long waiting times for routine elective surgery, there could be a solution for you. In some cases you can ask to be switched to a different hospital waiting list if you have been told that you will have to wait for treatment for more than 18 weeks.

What choices do I have?

If you need to see a consultant you can ask to change your hospital if:

Your CCG (or NHS England, if you have been referred to a consultant-led specialised service) must take all reasonable steps to ensure that you are offered an appointment at a suitable alternative organisation that can start your treatment earlier than if you were to continue to wait for treatment from the provider you originally chose. If there is more than one suitable alternative organisation, you must be offered a choice from all of them.

Are these legal rights?

Yes, but there are circumstances in which you may not ask to change your hospital.

When may I not ask to change to a different hospital?

If you have to wait for more than 18 weeks for non-urgent treatment to start, you do not have a legal entitlement to ask to be switched to a different hospital waiting list if:

Did you know you have the right to choose where to have your NHS surgery?

If you or a loved one needs to see an NHS specialist, you can choose to access any hospital or treatment centre in England.

We know that making an informed decision, and the right choice for your individual needs, is important to you and your recovery, so we want to help as much as possible.

Department of Health – Information Booklet

For a visual guide and more information on how to change your hospital, the Department of Health website prepared a document to download. Please note that the following link will lead you out of our page and Care UK is not responsible for the content.

Department of Health: choose Easyread leaflet 4: Changing your hospital

You will also find a lot of other useful information on your choices within the NHS on this page.

Leslie’s story

Leslie was a patient at one of our Care UK hospitals who, having been told he would have to wait 65 weeks for a hip replacement, looked for another solution. He discovered that he could switch waiting lists and decided to benefit from the short waiting times at Care UK. Watch his story here:

  • The centre was very clean, everyone was friendly and professional and we were offered tea and biscuits afterwards. Will Adams NHS Treatment Centre

    Dorothy, 2017
  • The whole experience was wonderful: from start to finish I was treated with courtesy and politeness. Everyone was well organised, professional and kind – and that was reassuring. St Mary's NHS Treatment Centre

    Dave, 2018
  • Everyone was so caring, the hospital was so clean, and the food was so good that I even put on weight! The aftercare is excellent too. Southampton NHS Treatment Centre

    Edna, 2018
  • The staff are fantastic, as is the catering. You’re given plenty of time by everyone which made it feel more like I was staying at a friend’s house than being in hospital. Shepton Mallet NHS Treatment Centre

    Daniel, 2017
  • The whole experience, the operation and the care, was absolutely five star. Even being able to park right outside was wonderful. Peninsula NHS Treatment Centre

    Lisa, 2018
  • It was wonderful. Everyone was kind, attentive and friendly and it took away any nerves I had. As you walk through the door you can’t help but notice the calm atmosphere and also how clean the centre is. North East London NHS Treatment Centre

    Irene, 2018
  • It was exceptional: I was out in under 24 hours and recovering in the comfort of my own home. Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre

    John, 2018
  • The place was spotless and even the cleaners were cheerful and friendly. The food was excellent too and the chef was around to talk to. Devizes NHS Treatment Centre

    Francis, 2018
  • They could not do enough for me. I felt very well cared for and the food was very good - it was like a holiday! Barlborough NHS Treatment Centre

    Michael, 2018 - Barlborough
 COVID-19 (coronavirus) alert

We continue to support NHS England during the Coronavirus crisis by providing the additional capacity it needs to treat non COVID-19 patients, but are now planning a gradual return to treating our own elective patients.

Click here for more information on how we’re keeping everyone safe, or to enquire about surgery.