The Department of Health has selected preferred bidders for six of its seven diagnostics schemes.

The Department of Health has selected preferred bidders for six of its seven diagnostics schemes.

The contracts, worth£1bn over the next five years, will be awarded in a bid to help the NHS meet the 18-week referral to treatment target by December 2008.

Amicus InHealth, a joint venture between Amicus Healthcare and InHealth Group, has won two of the contracts to deliver diagnostic procedures, including MRI scans, X-rays and ultrasound, in London and the East of England.

Atos Origin will provide diagnostic services to patients in the South West, with Bupa selected for the South East, Mercury Healthcare for the West Midlands scheme, and Alliance Medical winning preferred bidder status for the North East. The DoH has yet to decide on a preferred bidder for the North West.

As HSJwent to press Netcare was set to be awarded preferred bidder status for one part of the DoH's controversial integrated clinical assessment and treatment services contract in Manchester.