Extending patient choice is central to the government's reform of the NHS. Patients will be offered a choice of hospitals for planned operations from December 2005 and will soon be offered choice in other areas of health care.
This paper presents the key findings from ten focus groups held to explore public views about choice in health and health care, and aims particularly to describe attitudes to choice among people living with a long-term condition.
It concludes with a discussion about the implications of findings for emerging policy. The findings will inform the design of a larger quantitative survey about choice, to be conducted towards the end of 2005.