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GP patient choice pilot details announced

3 January 2012

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Practice boundaries will be abolished in parts of London, Manchester and Nottingham from April 2012 under government plans to pilot increased patient choice.

GP practices in Westminster, City and Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Manchester, Salford and Nottingham City will be able to join the pilot to allow patients to register with the practice of their choice on a voluntary basis.

The DH said the areas were chosen thanks to their high numbers of commuters.

The pilots will last for one year and will be subject to an independent review by the Department of Health.

The DH also confirmed the funding to cover patients using GP surgeries on a consultation-only basis will be capped at £2m.

“Many patients are happy with their local GP practice, but a significant minority have problems registering with a practice of their choice,” said Health Secretary Andrew Lansley.

“This pilot will mean patients taking part can access the high quality care they deserve in a place and at a time that suits them.

“That’s why I believe patients should have the freedom to choose a GP practice that suits their lives, and not be restricted by geographical boundaries.”