Patients to order own tests
The Government wants patients to be able to order their own diagnostic tests as part of a major new initiative to encourage self-care.
A new Department of Health strategy document said it aim-ed to 'enable people to book routine tests as and when they need them, rather than requiring them to go to a GP for permission'.
The department added that it wanted to 'involve people in interpreting results so they understand what action needs to be taken and why'.
The document lists a number of examples already running of patient self-referral, including a scheme providing access to reviews for rheumatology and Parkinson's disease, and another offering blood tests for HbA1C and cholesterol in high-street pharmacies.
The department refused to provide details of its proposals, but GPs said they sounded 'completely insane'.
Dr Des Spence, a GP in Glasgow, said: 'We struggle interpreting some of the results for the tests we do God only knows what this will lead to.
'Clearly people being responsible for their health is a good thing. My concern is that this is just going to engender more anxiety and health-neurosis.'
The new document, called 'Supporting people with long-term conditions to self-care', also pledges to increase access to equipment for self-monitoring.