Hospitals come in many shapes and sizes. Depending on the type of treatment required you may be treated in one of the following:
Community or cottage hospitals: local neighbourhood hospitals providing a less extensive range of facilities. Many offer day surgery, outpatient clinics and maternity services.
GP hospitals: GPs are able to treat their own patients, including performing some minor surgery. GPs may also have beds in larger general hospitals.
Day hospitals: Day hospitals provide services, such as chiropody and occupational therapy, for elderly or mentally ill people to help them to live in the community.
Children's hospitals: centres with an environment better equipped for children's needs. Your Community Health Council (Local Health Council in Northern Ireland or Health and Social Services Board in Scotland) will be able to tell you if there is a children's hospital in your region (or contact the Health Information Service on 0800 665544). Nowadays general hospitals have their own trained children's nurses, and recognise the importance of play and parental contact.
Regional specialties: some specialist services such as kidney treatment, plastic surgery, or neurosurgery are organised on a regional basis, and are provided at regional units. You may need to travel further for this kind of treatment than to your local hospital.
Mental health hospitals: although more people with mental health problems are being cared for in the community, there are still patients in large psychiatric hospitals. Many of these are elderly, mentally infirm people. Hospital Trusts often have their own Departments of Psychiatry.
Learning disability hospitals: the policy nowadays is to care for people with learning difficulties in community based homes, but there remain a number of learning disability hospitals.
Hospital Trusts: are hospitals (provider units) which have met the criteria to become Trusts under the NHS reforms. They are no longer under direct health authority control but remain within the NHS. All hospitals are now covered by NHS Trust status.