FINANCE: The PCT has endorsed four “any qualified provider” priority services.

The NHS is required to extend the choice of provider to three or more community or mental health services in 2012-13 via the any qualified provider approach.

A local consultation exercise had been completed during August 2011 in order to assess the views of key stakeholders, including members of the Citizens’ Health Panel and Patient Experience Group and all provider and third sector organisations based within the city.

The consultation identified diagnostic testing, back and neck pain services, primary care psychological services, and podiatry as the priority service areas for an increased choice of provider. The perceived benefits of extended choice were identified as shorter waiting times and ease of access.

Following a detailed discussion the PCT’s GP governance committee endorsed the four service areas for implementation of the any qualified provider approach.

However, it was agreed that further work was needed to define diagnostic testing, but that previous work on community ultrasounds should be the initial focus for this area.