Patients are being urged to shop around on the NHS app and website to cut their waiting time for treatment in England.
IT systems have been updated to allow patients to more easily exercise their right to choose where they go for planned care, such as knee operations.
They will now be able to view up to five providers - filtered by distance, waiting times and quality of care.
But hospitals warned staffing shortages still needed to be tackled to make the biggest impact on waits.
The idea of choosing where to go for treatment has been in place since the early 2000s, but few use it.
Currently only1 in 10 exercises their right to choose, with patients reporting they are not always offered a choice of where to go or that it is hard to select different venues.
Ministers believe that by searching the list of different hospitals, patients will be able to reduce their waits - potentially by up to three months, research suggests.
Source: BBC News, 25 May 2023
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