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Independents' Day

Patient choice extended

The Government has extended patient choice at the point of referral to include treatment at NHS foundation trusts and independent treatment centres.

The initial roll-out consists of 15 private centres specialising in cataract surgery, hip replacements and other common procedures and a full service at foundation hospitals.

The launch by health minister Andy Burnham last week coincided with a Government report highlighting the success of Choose and Book, which said GPs thought the system had a positive impact and 'helped to deliver improved dialogue with patients'.

But Dr Tom Frewin, a GP in Bristol, said: 'My patients needing orthopaedic surgery have no say in which hospital they use.

'Choice is fine if you need a common, non-urgent procedure which is non-disabling ­ how often is that the case?'

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