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Independents' Day

Most patients fail to recall choice of hospital offer

Most patients are failing to recall being offered a choice of hospital when referred by their GP, latest Department of Health figures show.

The results of the National Patient Choice survey of 70,000 patients reveal that in July, 35 per cent of patients remembered being offered a choice for their first outpatient appointment. The figure compared with 30 per cent in May/June.

Of those patients aware they should be offered a choice, 55 per cent said their GP went through their options.

However, only 26 per cent of patients not aware of the policy reported being offered a choice.

One patient in four was also offered a copy of the Choosing your Hospital booklet, six percentage points up on the May/ June survey.

Dr Andy Stewart, a GP in St Mellion, Cornwall, said he could understand the slow take up: 'The main problem is time; there's a lot to discuss.'

In order for GPs to qualify for the 24 pence per patient rewards available through the Choice and Booking DES, 60 per cent of patients must recall

being offered choice.

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