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Hospitals: Admissions

Volume 458: debated on Thursday 29 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what assessment she has made of the impact of the introduction of referral management schemes by primary care trusts on patient choice; and if she will make a statement; (121925)

(2) when she expects to answer Question number 121925, on referral management schemes, tabled by the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green on 16 February.

There has been no central assessment as this is for local determination.

The Department’s guidance to the national health service is clear that, whether patients are referred direct to hospital by their general practitioner, or through a referral management scheme, they should be offered the choice of which hospital they wish to be referred to. We have asked primary care trusts to review existing referral management centres to ensure that they create tangible benefits for patients, and uphold the principles set out in Care and resource utilisation: ensuring appropriateness of care, published on 14 December 2006. This is available in the Library and at:

www.dh.gov.uk/PublicationsAndStatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidanceArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4141316&chk=iJxRrx

One of the principles in this document is that choice should be offered to patients when they are referred to hospital.