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Reid wants GPs to offer a choice

Allowing patients to register with more than one GP is under fresh consideration by the Government as part of a drive by Health Secretary John Reid to improve patient choice.

Dr Reid also revealed last week that GPs would be expected to offer patients a choice of four hospitals for elective treatment at the point of referral by 2005, using an electronic booking service to identify the shortest wait.

The Department of Health said there would be 'incentives in the new contract' for GPs to provide such information, but could give no further detail. A department spokeswoman denied the plan would increase workload, claiming GPs would spend less time chasing appointments and writing to consultants.

She said Dr Reid was in the early stages of developing policies to expand patient choice in primary care.

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