Press release

Making medical tests work for you: Offering patients more choice

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

For the first time, patients will now have more choice about where, when and how they receive some of the most common medical tests.

New proposals published today outline how patients will be able to choose where they receive essential tests, including blood tests and heart scans.

From April 2013, patients will be able to pick somewhere closer to home or near where they work, instead of having to go to the nearest available option. They will make these decisions in partnership with their doctor, who can help advise them on which choice would be most appropriate for them.

Alongside more choice, an important change will be made to the system that GPs and patients use to choose which hospital for their treatment - Choose and Book - by including detailed waiting times information on the system. Patients and their doctors will get a better sense of how long they may wait for treatment, which will support them in deciding what hospital they go to.

These new plans are outlined in Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me, which details how more choice is being made available to patients throughout the health service over the next few years.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley says:

“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.

“No two people are the same, and that’s why our plans will offer patients more personalised care, ensuring that “no decision about me is made without me.”

Today, the Department of Health is also launching a consultation on our plans to empower patients to have more choice over where, when and how they will be treated in the NHS. It outlines how patients, their carers and their families will have more of a say in their care.

This will be supported by moves to open up NHS information to the public, make sure patients can see their own information online, and book GP appointments - as well as hospital bookings - in a convenient way.

Notes to Editors:

1)      For media enquiries, please contact the Department of Health press officers Alex MacDonald (0207 210 5484) or Shumon Rahman (0207 210 5433)

2)      The consultation ‘Choice: Further Proposals’ is available online.

3)      The results of the consultation _Liberating the NHS: No decision about me, without me _are also available online.