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Andrew Lansley has come out with his latest plan that involves NHS patients having more choice on when and where they have their medical tests.  The Department of Health (DH) plan means that NHS patients will be given much more freedom around when are where they have access to some of the more common medical tests including blood tests and heart scans.

New Proposals

The new proposals were published and would mean that from April 2013, patients will have the option to pick somewhere to have their tests that would be convenient for them, such as somewhere close to work, instead of having to travel to the nearest available choice. 

Andrew Lansley believes that this change will have positive effects on patient’s lives and stated that the reforms are all about making patients lives easier.  He said the plan is to make medical tests work for you and not the system; this will be done through offering choices that are more convenient for the patient themselves. 

A consultation was also launched today by the Department of Health around their plans to offer more choice for patients in the form of giving the options of how, when and where they will be treated by the NHS.  The Choose and Book, system which will be used by both patients and GPs to organise which hospital will be used for treatments, is also undergoing alterations in order to give both parties a better understanding of how long the wait for treatment will be. 

Liberating the NHS

All the details of the proposed plans can be found in the ‘Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me’ document that provides all the discussions centred on providing more choice to patients in the health service over the next couple of years.  Critics believe that the notion of offering patients choice in regard to when and where they can receive treatment is just another way to allow private sector organisations to provide NHS care.  Lansley has defended his latest plans by arguing that providing the information around treatment and how long it will take, gives the patient the opportunity to select the best care facility that best meets their needs.  He argues that this system will ensure that offering personalised care for patient’s means that the ‘no decision about me is made without me’ part of the plan is met and will mean that patients are better off.

Of course this level of choice is not new to healthcare; however it has only been seen in private healthcare up to this point.

Gareth writes on behalf of private health care provider Health-On-Line and contributes to various health blogs.