PCT clusters are to prioritise the tendering of podiatry, adult hearing services and diagnostic care on the open market under any qualified provider (AQP).
Trusts were given until 31 October to submit details to the Department of Health of the three services they are prioritising for opening up under AQP.
Of 18 clusters to respond to Pulse¹s request for details, 11 plan to prioritise podiatry services, while 10 will focus on adult hearing, eight on diagnostics, seven apiece on wheelchair and adult hearing services, and six on psychological therapies.
Four clusters said they would be prioritising musculoskeletal services, while two are prioritising minor oral surgery, and one each is focusing on ophthalmology, adult learning services and dermatology.
Pulse recently reported that the DH was reviewing its policy of opening up community and mental health services under AQP after concerns that it was being Œfoisted¹ on GPs, but for now PCT clusters are pushing ahead.
Dr Michael Dixon, NHS Alliance chair, said: ‘The concept of AQP is a good one, but there is a danger that using it for services such as adult hearing could destabilise the local ENT provider. There is also a danger it could wrongfoot local GP commissioners.’