The government's patient choice target is proving too tough for many trusts, the health check reveals.
The Department of Health set a target that, from December 2005, all patients would be able to choose from at least four healthcare providers for planned hospital care, paid for by the NHS. A key part of this is the choose and book programme, which gives patients a choice of outpatient services.
But only 11 per cent of primary care trusts achieved the target of 90 per cent choose and book utilisation by March 2007. Patients in just 9 per cent of trusts said they had been offered a choice of hospital and a choice booklet.
Commission chief executive Anna Walker said reasons for poor performance included IT problems and the fact that GPs were not contracted to provide choose and book.
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