This site is intended for health professionals only

At the heart of general practice since 1960

Practices set to miss out on DES payment for offering choice of hospital

GPs behind on choice

By Ingrid Torjesen

Practices are set to miss out on enhanced services payments for offering a choice of hospital, patient survey results released by the Government suggest.

Statistics from a survey in June showed only 30 per cent of patients referred by their GP recalled being offered a choice of hospital.

Practices will only qualify for the 24p per patient reward under the choice and booking directed enhanced service if 60 per cent of patients recall the choice conversation in the national patient experience survey, which will be carried out in January. DES payments will be made in April 2007.

The results from the June survey found patients who knew they were entitled to choice were far more likely to remember being offered it.

Of the 29 per cent of patients who were aware of choice, half recalled being offered it. The figure compared with just 21 per cent among those unaware they were entitled to a choice.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC negotiator, said it was unfair that GPs were being paid on the basis of such a survey.

He said: 'The questions were asked a number of weeks, if not months, after the discussion with the GP took place so it's not surprising that patients don't remember that particular part of the conversation.'

The choice and booking DES is scheduled to continue next year. Dr Vautrey said the GPC would want to review how the the targets are set.

He also suggested the survey be included with the referral acknowledgement from the hospital so that patient feedback could be given sooner.

GPs in Calderdale PCT had the highest percentage of patients (74 per cent) recalling being offered choice.

Dr John Chatterjee, secretary of Calderdale LMC, said the result was down to high usage of Choose and Book and clear communication with patients.

He said: 'We tell the patient they are being given a choice.'

The study of 270,000 patients in England referred for a first outpatient appointment between 22 May and 4 June also found only 20 per cent of patients offered choice also recalled being offered the

Choosing Your Hospital booklet.

Location or transport considerations (57 per cent) were rated the most important factor in choosing a hospital by patients, followed by waiting times (22 per cent), the reputation of the hospital (18 per cent) and quality of the care (17 per cent).

• GPs will be able to refer

patients to the local library so they can investigate which hospital they want to be referred to under a Government pilot.

Choosing your Hospital booklets will be placed in 27 public libraries in Derbyshire, Gloucestershire and seven London boroughs. Librarians will help patients access the Choose and Book system and make their appointment via the computer system at the library.

Where GPs are beating the

60 per cent DES threshold

Calderdale PCT 74 per cent

West Cumbria PCT 68

Broxtowe and Hucknall PCT 68

Burnley, Pendle and

Rossendale PCT 66

North Devon PCT 65

Nottingham City PCT 64

Chorley and South Ribble PCT 63

Erewash PCT 63

Flyde PCT 63

Gedling PCT 62

Wyre PCT 62

Morecambe Bay PCT 61

Rushcliffe PCT 61

Rate this article 

Click to rate

  • 1 star out of 5
  • 2 stars out of 5
  • 3 stars out of 5
  • 4 stars out of 5
  • 5 stars out of 5

0 out of 5 stars

Have your say