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Patient Choice

Volume 400: debated on Wednesday 26 February 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in London waiting more than six months for elective surgery had a choice of alternative hospital in (a) 1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000, (d) 2001, (e) 2002 and (f) 2003. [98924]

The London patient choice project (LPCP) started offering choice on 23 September 2002 to patients with cataracts with the first operation on 1 October 2002. Between 1 October 2002 and 10 February 2003, 2,628 patients were offered choice. Of these, 1,859 accepted.The LPCP was extended to include a range of surgical procedures in the specialties of general surgery; orthopaedics and ear, nose and throat in the week commencing 10 February 2003. It will be further extended to cover other specialties and procedures this summer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients in London waiting more than six months for cataract surgery had a choice of alternative hospital in (a)1998, (b) 1999, (c) 2000, (d) 2001, (e) 2002 and (f) 2003. [98931]

The London patient choice project (LPCP) started offering choice on 23 September 2002 to patients with cataracts with the first operation on 1 October 2002.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many patients from Hendon he expects to be offered a change of hospital under patient choice in (a) this and (b) the next financial year; and if he will make a statement. [98933]

Patients in Hendon are eligible for the London patient choice project. Barnet and Chase Farm National Health Service Trust has 1,024 patients who have been offered choice in the financial year 2002–03 and expects that, for the financial year 2003–04, a further 1,100 will be made a choice offer.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what treatments are available to patients in Hendon under "Patient's Choice", at hospitals other than those to which they were originally referred; and if he will make a statement. [98943]

Patients in Hendon are eligible for the London patient choice project. This project started to offer choice for cataract patients who have already waited more than six months for treatment, in October 2002 and from March 2003 will be offering a similar choice in ear, nose and throat, general surgery and orthopaedics. The scheme rolls out to other surgical specialties such as gynaecology, urology and plastic surgery from summer 2003.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many choices of alternative hospital patients in London waiting for six months for cataract surgery have had since 1997, and what has been the average wait between referral and treatment in the alternative hospital. [99092]

Patients are usually offered two alternative hospitals for cataract surgery.The average wait between referral and treatment would be between two and four weeks, not including the time it may take to contact the patient and for them to make a decision. The contact process usually commences before the patient reaches six months on the list.Where a patient is found to have a second cataract, they are expected to be treated within one and three months, should they so choose.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many choices of alternative hospital the 100,000 extra patients identified by him in his speech of 11 February will have; and who will determine their eligibility. [99102]

The precise range of choice offered to patients is being designed on a project by project basis. Some projects are offering choice for those patients already on a waiting list for six months, and in others choice is being offered at the point of booking into an out-patient clinic.For the six month waiting patients, a choice of one alternative treatment centre will be offered. For choice at the point of booking, two alternative treatment centres will be offered.All projects will produce patient care pathways for each procedure, utilising nationally available guidance and advice. The pathways that cover eligibility criteria will then developed with clinicians. The trust on whose waiting list the patient is held before the start of the choice process.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health who will determine whether a patient in London waiting more than six months for elective surgery is eligible to choose an alternative hospital. [99105]

The London patient choice project takes as a starting point that the whole process of choice must be safe and quality assured from the patient perspective. The project has therefore produced patient care pathways for each procedure. These utilise nationally available guidance and advice, such as that published by the Royal Colleges and the Department of Health, as a core foundation. The pathways that cover eligibility criteria have then been developed in conjunction with clinicians in London.The trust on whose waiting list the patient is held before the start of the choice process, checks whether the patient falls within the eligibility criteria for choice. However the transfer of clinical responsibility does not take place until the patient has been seen and accepted in a pre-admission clinic in the alternative hospital.