Two thirds of patients think that having a choice of GP is very important, compared with just over half who thought similarly about choice of hospital.
The DoH has extended the level of choice GPs should offer patients from four hospitals to include all 32 foundation trusts (GP, 16 June).
The poll of 1,067 patients also found that, despite the government's emphasis on choice, most patients were unaware of it, with 55 per cent saying that the NHS did not offer them choice at all.
BMA chairman James Johnson said the survey showed an appetite for choice among the public and noted that choice of GP was a 'substantially higher' priority than choice of hospital.
Top of patients' wish list was to have a say generally in their care and timing of treatment, which were both thought very important by 69 per cent of patients.
The survey was released at the start of the BMA's Annual Representatives Meeting in Belfast this week at which a number of government policies and initiatives came under fire.
Mr Johnson reserved greatest venom for referral management centres which he labelled 'absolutely scandalous' for interfering with patient referral.
Throughout the conference the government was fiercely criticised for its use of private providers.
Dr George Rae, GPC member for Tyne and Wear, urged delegates to send out a message that private providers must only be used where absolutely necessary.
Meanwhile, conference narrowly passed a motion that BMA leadership had failed the country by a lack of opposition to current reforms.