News story

Regulator agrees plans to improve patient choice in the north west of England

Monitor has agreed plans to improve how a choice of hospital care is offered to thousands of patients in parts of Lancashire.

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Commissioners in Blackpool and in Fylde and Wyre have each set out a package of steps they will take to ensure patients are offered choice and are aware of the options available to them.

The regulator has accepted undertakings from both Blackpool Clinical Commissioning Group and Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group that include conducting a survey of patients to find out about the choices they were offered, and providing training for GPs on patient choice.

The commissioners also committed to helping GPs give patients more information about the different health services available to them.

Catherine Davies, Executive Director of Co-operation and Competition, said:

Patients tell us that they value being able to choose when and where they get treatment. We welcome these plans from local commissioners, which conclude our investigation and represents a real improvement in how patients are offered a choice of health services in Lancashire.

Following a complaint from Spire Healthcare Ltd, a Monitor investigation found that these local commissioners were not making sure patients were offered a choice of hospital for routine surgery and were failing to ensure patients had information about the different hospitals available.

Monitor did not uphold other aspects of Spire’s complaint, including the submission that commissioners were directing patients away from its Spire Fylde Coast Hospital towards a nearby foundation trust.

Published 20 March 2015