Table of Contents
ISRN Family Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 742676, 6 pages
Review Article

Patient Choice for Older People in English NHS Primary Care: Theory and Practice

1School of Health & Social Care, Bournemouth University, Bournemouth House, 19 Christchurch Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH1 3LH, UK
2Westbourne Medical Centre, Milburn Road, Bournemouth, Dorset BH4 9HJ, UK
3Health Economics Group, University of Exeter Medical School, Veysey Building, Salmon Pool Lane, Exeter EX2 4SG, UK
4Plymouth University, Drake Circus, Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, UK
5Dorset County Council, Vespasian House, Bridport Road, Dorchester DT1 1TS, UK

Received 28 November 2013; Accepted 20 January 2014; Published 4 March 2014

Academic Editors: L. Garcia Olmos and R. Ruiz-Moral

Copyright © 2014 Andrew J. E. Harding et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the English National Health Service (NHS), patients are now expected to choose the time and place of treatment and even choose the actual treatment. However, the theory on which patient choice is based and the implementation of patient choice are controversial. There is evidence to indicate that attitudes and abilities to make choices are relatively sophisticated and not as straightforward as policy developments suggest. In addition, and surprisingly, there is little research on whether making individual choices about care is regarded as a priority by the largest NHS patient group and the single largest group for most GPs—older people. This conceptual paper examines the theory of patient choice concerning accessing and engaging with healthcare provision and reviews existing evidence on older people and patient choice in primary care.