STRUCTURE: Diagnostics, adult hearing and musculoskeletal services will be opened up to competition from any qualified provider by North Lancashire Teaching PCT in 2012, according to a new “AQP map” published by the Department of Health.

All PCTs were required to choose three areas of community and mental health services in which to open up AQP competition in 2012-13. They are expected to be able to offer patients a choice of any qualified provider in these services by September next year.

The three services to be opened up in North Lancashire will also be opened up by the other PCTs in the Pan Lancashire “cluster” of commissioners, including Blackpool, East Lancashire, Central Lancashire, and Blackburn with Darwen.