In April 2014, the then coalition government established legislation for people with mental health conditions to have the same legal right as those with physical health conditions to choose their health care provider.
The NHS stated that patients in England have the legal right to choose any clinically appropriate mental health provider that has a contract with any Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) or NHS England for the service required.
Partly because of the way the NHS England guidance was interpreted by many different health professionals and NHS services, the legislation is not something that has been widely publicised or is known about.
As we first reported to OCD-UK members in the last member’s magazine, we have been speaking with NHS England's 'Patient Choice' team to clarify the legislation and how people seeking treatment for OCD or BDD can implement it.
At the moment when a patient requires treatment they are automatically referred (or they can sometimes self-refer) to their local service within the same CCG area that they are registered with a GP. For the majority of people that will be fine, and travel restrictions may mean they can only access local services anyway. However, for others where travel is not restrictive, there may be occasions where they may wish to be referred to a different NHS service for their treatment.