Only three out of 16 independent sector treatment and diagnostic schemes have been given the final go ahead following a review of phase 2 of the programme by the Department of Health.

In a written Commons statement, health secretary Alan Johnson said five others would continue to be 'worked up' but that six - including diagnostic and elective treatment schemes - would be abandoned.

One other scheme that is already providing diagnostics in theWest Midlandsand is run by CareUKwill be terminated as it has had an 'unacceptably low' rate of use at 5 per cent.