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Thursday 27th October 2016

Knee and hip op choice

10th April 2007

People requiring hip and knee surgery will able to choose which hospital they attend for their operation in July this year.

This statement, made by Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt, comes a year earlier than originally planned. Waiting times for orthopaedic surgery make up some of the longest in the NHS and are currently the subject of a governmental audit.

At the beginning of 2006, patients requiring elective surgery were allowed to choose between no less than four local hospitals. Later in the year, the choice was expanded to 15 independent sector providers, private clinics and the 34 top foundation trusts. By April 2008, the government intend patients needing routine surgery to be able to choose from any hospital in England.

The government want to allow patients to be in charge of their NHS treatment. As part of this plan, they will launch a flagship website, NHS Choices, this summer providing hospital data, searchable directories and treatment information. NHS Choices will be a sister site to Choose and Book, which lets patients book appointments and is currently being used by over a third of GPs.

A pilot project started on 11 April permits patients in ten areas across England to visit their local libraries to select and book appointments online. Librarians will be available to offer support and guidance to patients using the site.

Ms Hewitt commented: ‚ÄúPatients needing a hospital appointment should have the right to pick and choose their time, date and place.‚Ä?

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