Fewer patients are being offered choice of hospital, the latest patient choice survey shows.

The seventh of the surveys commissioned by the Department of Health and carried out by Ipsos Mori showed a reduction in patients recalling being offered a choice of hospital for their first outpatient appointment: 44 per cent in May, down from 48 per cent in March.

Only 29 per cent of patients who were offered a choice of hospital were also offered a copy of the Choosing Your Hospital booklet -down from 36 per cent in March.

NHS Partners Network acting general manager Graham Kendall called the figures 'disappointing'.

He said the network had worked hard to give patients a genuine choice in provider, and called for 'clear direction from the top'.

The survey also showed patients who knew before they visited their GP that they had a choice of hospitals for their first appointment had increased 1 per cent since March.