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Choice survey to bring more money

GPs are to get an extra payment for giving out questionnaires for the Choice and Booking directed enhanced service.

The money is being awarded because practices will now have to hand out the questionnaires, rather than the Department of Health posting them to patients weeks after their consultation.

Ministers have changed the method of data collection after past surveys showed low numbers of patients recalling whether they were offered a choice of hospital.

The latest survey showed only a third of patients recalling an offer. GPs need to score 60 per cent to get the 24p per patient on offer through the DES.

Dr Laurence Buckman, GPC deputy chair, said the payment would be 'modest' but enough to cover the cost of the work.

He said: 'We believed it was fairer to practices and patients and dealt with a lot of the complaints practices had about patients remembering, postage and confidentiality.'

The choice questionnaires will be delivered to practices next week. The exercise covers consultations held between 16 January and 30 March.

Patients referred via a referral management centre will count as having been offered choice.

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