The Patient Choice Scheme 2012 has been operating since 31 April 2012. Details of the Scheme are set out in the Patient Choice Directions 2012, which must be read together with the National Health Service (Primary Medical Services) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012.
The Patient Choice Scheme will come to an end on 31 March 2013. However, the final evaluation of the Patient Choice Scheme, being undertaken by the Policy Innovation Research Unit of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is not due until July 2013.
Once the final evaluation report is received, the Secretary of State will consider the evaluation and decide whether elements of the scheme should be rolled out nationally. Any policy decision will address such matters as practice boundaries, registration and contractual terms.
In order to ensure stability throughout the process, the Secretary of State has decided to make a new Scheme, which will enable those patients who have registered with a participating practice before 31 March 2013 outside their home practice area, to remain registered with the participating practice. Details of the new scheme - The Patient Choice Extension Scheme - are set out in the Patient Choice Extension Scheme Directions 2013, which we intend to make in February 2013 and amend the National Health Service GMS (General Medical Services Contracts) Regulations 2004 and the PMS (Personal Medical Services Agreements) to reflect the scheme.
The arrangement, under the Patient choice Extension Scheme 2013, will prevent current participating patients and practices from having to de-register and then re-register the patient, if a decision is made to implement elements of the scheme nationally.
New patients will not be eligible to register under the Patient Choice Extension Scheme 2013 after 31 March 2013 and this Scheme is only applicable to patients who register prior to this date. No new day patients will be seen under the Patient Choice Extension Scheme. The Patient Choice Extension Scheme 2013 will end on or before 31 March 2014.
The same arrangements will apply under the new Patient Choice Extension Scheme 2013 for the existing participating patients as under the current Patient Choice Scheme 2012 and participating practices will not be responsible for home visits or urgent care for these patients.