The NHS belongs to the people. 

It is there to improve our health and wellbeing, supporting us to keep mentally and physically well, to get better when we are ill and, when we cannot fully recover, to stay as well as we can to the end of our lives. 

It works at the limits of science – bringing the highest levels of human knowledge and skill to save lives and improve health. It touches our lives at times of basic human need, when care and compassion are what matter most. 

The NHS is founded on a common set of principles and values that bind together the communities and people it serves – patients and public – and the staff who work for it. 

You can read more about what the NHS stands for in the NHS Constitution

All parts of the NHS have an important role to play in delivering patient choice, which has been a regulatory requirement since 2012. It aims to provide better care for patients by allowing them to make choices that better suit them and their recovery

From Tuesday 31 October, patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks for treatment and do not have an appointment date within the next eight weeks, could be eligible to request to move to a different hospital to be treated sooner.

What is the process to request to move to a different hospital?

Those eligible will be contacted by the hospital they are under the care of via a text or letter and given a weblink and telephone number to submit a request to explore their options. The telephone number will support patients with multiple languages. There is no time restriction for the patient to submit a request.

The text will be from your NHS provider and will read along the lines of:

Patients waiting over 40 weeks may wish to consider moving hospital to receive earlier treatment. If you wish to be considered to move hospital please submit your details via . Support to complete this is available on <0345 phone number>.

The letter will be from your NHS provider and will read along the lines of:

In England NHS patients have the right to request to move to a different hospital to receive their care/treatment if they have been waiting longer than 18 weeks. As the NHS continues to recover from the covid pandemic we are initially contacting all patients who have been waiting over 40 weeks and inviting them to be considered to move hospital to receive earlier care/treatment. You have been identified as a patient who has been waiting over this period of time. Many patients may be deemed clinically appropriate to move provider however in not all circumstances will we be able to identify alternative capacity to facilitate a move. Should you wish to be considered to move hospital please submit your details via . For those who do not have access to technology please contact the NHS Telephone Support Line on <0345 phone number>. Upon receiving your request this will be reviewed by your current hospital and the next step will be communicated to you.

Once a patient has submitted their details, including how far they are willing to travel, this will be reviewed by the hospital they are currently under the care of. If a patient is deemed clinically and socially appropriate to move the process will then begin.

If a patient opts to request to move (options for providers within 50 miles, 100 miles or nationally) it is the role of the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) to make every effort to identify an appropriate alternative hospital. However, there may be circumstances in which it is not clinically appropriate to move to a different hospital or alternative capacity is not available.  

If there is no capacity available locally (within 50 or 100 miles) and a patient is willing to travel nationally, the details will be uploaded to the digital mutual aid system (PIDMAS) and other hospitals will be able to offer to treat the patient if appropriate.

If an alternative provider is identified the patient is contacted and asked if they would like to proceed – this change in provider would be for the whole pathway of services including follow-up appointments. If an alternative hospital isn’t found the patient will remain with their current provider and they will receive an appointment as soon as one becomes available.

If someone wishes to share a concern or complaint about the process?

A patient can share a concern or submit a complaint about the process by contacting the ICB’s customer service team, Time2Talk.

Contact the team by telephone on 0300 0120 281 and select Option 1, email at or write to the team at Time2Talk, NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board (ICB) Civic Centre, St Peter’s Square, Wolverhampton, WV1 1SH. The team’s operational hours are Monday to Friday (excluding Bank Holidays) 9.00am to 5.00pm. Find out more about the Time2Talk team on the ICB website at

March 2024 update

This cohort of patients have now been contacted and those eligible have all moved to an alternative hospital to be treated sooner. The next cohort of patients is being arranged and further updates will be shared here soon.

NHS Black Country ICB patient choice policy statement 

NHS Black Country ICB is committed to giving patients greater choice and control over how they receive their health care, in line with the NHS Constitution and the NHS Choice Framework. 

The ICB will work with referrers, including GPs, to ensure they are aware of patients’ right to choose, and that appropriate information is available at the point of referral to ensure that an informed choice can be made. 

As set out in the NHS Constitution, you have a number of choices concerning care and treatment as a patient. These choices include: 

  • The right to choose your GP surgery, and to be accepted by that practice unless there are reasonable grounds to refuse, in which case you will be informed of those reasons 
  • The right to express a preference of using a particular doctor within your GP surgery, and for the surgery to try to comply 
  • The right to choose which hospital to go to if your GP refers you to see a specialist as defined in National Guidance 
  • The right to be involved in decisions about your healthcare and to be given the information you need to do this 

These are not the only choices you can make. There are choices in your lifestyle, decisions about your treatment, and even the way in which you interact with doctors and other health professionals that can all affect your health. 

To get the full benefit of the health service it is essential to give careful consideration of these other choices too. 

To find out more please visit Your choices in the NHS - NHS ( 

Useful links  

For more information about patient choice, see this patient leaflet ( You can also view this patient choice easy read guide ( 

For information about Electronic Referral System and to book an appointment using the NHS e-Referral Service - NHS (

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