Can I demand a specific treatment?

Your GP doesn't have to prescribe a particular medication or treatment for you if they think it's not the right option. You're entitled to ask for their reasons for the decision.

You're also entitled to make a suggestion and explain to your GP why you believe a certain medication or treatment is a good option.

Remember that:

  • some types of treatment aren't available on the NHS
  • you need a referral from your GP to have some types of treatment on the NHS, such as cosmetic surgery

Second opinion

If you're not satisfied with your GP's advice, you may want to consider getting a second opinion.

Although you're not legally entitled to a second opinion, a healthcare professional will rarely refuse to refer you.

You may feel happier with a different GP, but be aware they may give you the same advice.

NICE and NHS medicines and treatments

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) regularly looks at new medication and treatments to assess whether they:

  • are safe
  • are more or less effective than other medication or treatments
  • represent value for money by assessing how well a medication or treatment works in relation to its cost

NICE won't automatically reject a medication or treatment because it's expensive. NICE recognises that something can be both expensive and represent good value for money.

The NHS in England and Wales is legally obliged to fund medicines and treatments NICE recommends.

This means that when NICE recommends a medicine or treatment, the NHS must ensure it's available to those people it could help, normally within 3 months of the guidance being issued.

So, if your doctor thinks a medicine or treatment recommended by NICE is right for you, you should be able to get it on the NHS.

Page last reviewed: 08/06/2018
Next review due: 08/06/2021