GP services are not usually covered by private medical insurance, but some health cash insurers do cover GP charges.
The way that customers choose GPs is probably going to change, and insurers will need to look at the implications.
Patients in parts of London, Manchester and Nottingham will be able to register or receive a consultation with a GP practice of their choice. Busy commuters will benefit the most from the new pilot scheme, which allows patients for the first time to choose whether to register with a practice close to their workplace or home, without worrying about practice boundaries.
The announcement means commuters in the pilot areas, who are often away from their local area during the working day, will find it easier to see their doctor where it suits them, and receive the same services as in their old practice.
The pilot will begin in April 2012 and last for one year.
Health secretary Andrew Lansley says:” This is just the beginning of a range of measures we hope to introduce to make the NHS truly patient focused and will allow us to better understand their needs. Many patients are happy with their local GP practice, but a significant minority has problems registering with a practice of their choice. This pilot will mean patients taking part can access the high quality care they deserve in a place and at a time that suits them. I believe patients should have the freedom to choose a GP practice that suits their lives, and not be restricted by geographical boundaries.”
The pilot sites are in Central London, Manchester/Salford and Nottingham. The trusts involved in the pilots are Westminster, City & Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Manchester, Salford and Nottingham City. GP practices in these areas will be able to join the pilot on a voluntary basis. The pilot sites have selected because they have high numbers of commuters travelling into the area each day, and one of the sites (Nottingham) is an existing live 111 pilot site. Participation will be voluntary.
The pilots will be subjected to an independent evaluation organised by the Department of Health.