Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has protected
patient choice in the NHS by banning Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) from enforcing
minimum waiting times on referrals and putting in place caps on operations that
do not take account of the healthcare needs of individual patients.
By March 2012 at the latest, all PCTs will be
expected to have removed these unfair restrictions which limit patient choice
and pro-long unnecessary suffering for patients. All decisions that could
impact on patient choice must now be taken at PCT board-level and must be made
This follows an investigation by the Co-operation
and Competition Panel into the implementation of patient choice in the NHS.
Andrew Lansley asked the Panel to advise on any instances where PCTs were not
acting in the best interests of patients or the taxpayer. The ensuing report in
July this year flagged a number of examples where PCTs were unfairly
restricting patient choice.
Private medical insurance news: 16 November 2011