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Patients to be given right to choose provider of diagnostic tests

Patients will be allowed to choose the provider of their diagnostic tests under new government proposals.

The proposals, detailed in the Department of Health’s new consultation document Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me, willallow patients referredby their GP for the most common diagnostic tests to choose the provider, as well as where and when the tests are carried out.

The consultation document said that this will mainly be focused on MRI scans and non-obstetric ultrasound in the first instance.

‘We propose that a key mechanism for giving patients a choice of diagnostic test provider in the community will be through the use of the any qualified provider model’ the DH said.

‘This model will allow patients who are referred for a particular service, to choose, where appropriate, from a range of providers that are qualified to provide safe, high quality care and treatment at NHS prices – and select the one that best meets their needs.’

Diagnostic tests will initially be listed on the Choose and Book system, the consultation proposes.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: ‘Our NHS reforms are all about making life easier for patients. We will make medical tests work for you, not the system, by allowing you to choose where it will be most convenient for you to go.

‘By giving you information about how long it will take for you to wait to be treated you will be able to choose the hospital that best meets your needs.’