Extending Choice of Provider

Closed 15 Sep 2011

Opened 25 Jul 2011

Feedback updated 29 Mar 2012

We asked

The Government wants to extend patient choice. What services do you think should be opened up for any qualified company to deliver the service to the NHS?

You said

You said you would like to have more choice on a range of healthcare services. The majority of local people suggested the following areas: * Adult hearing services in the community * Adult Primary Care Psychological Therapies * Services for back and neck pain * Podiatry * and Diagnostic tests

We did

NHS Stockport is now part of the Greater Manchester PCT Cluster. All ten Greater Manchester PCTs submitted their proposals for extending choice of provider to the Cluster Board, where it was agreed that NHS Greater Manchester will extend choice to 'any qualified provider' for: * diagnostics * podiatry * and adult hearing services. This should be in place by Spring 2012.

Results updated 16 Sep 2011

124 people responded to our survey about the Department of Health's plans to extend the choice of companies providing healthcare services to the NHS.

Of those who took part:

  • 37.90% were NHS employees
  • 37.90% were local residents
  • 9.677% were NHS Stockport as patients
  • 6.452% worked in the public sector
  • less than ten people responded on behalf of a patient group
  • less than ten people were carers or relatives of patients

Responses came from all but one of Stockport’s council wards, as well as 30 respondents who work in the area, but live in an adjacent borough.

  • The vast majority of respondents (70.97%) were female
  • 66.94% were aged between 51 and 65 years and only 7.26% of respondents were aged 30 or less
  • 70.16% declared no disability
  • 87.90% came from a White British background
  • 56.45% declared their religion as Christian and 27.42% had no religion or belief
  • 35.48% of respondents were heterosexual, less than ten people declared their sexuality as LGB, while 10.48% did not wish to say and the remaining 51.6% did not answer the question

When asked whether any qualified provider should be allowed to provide the DH’s list of potential services, views varied from service to service, but there was overwhelming support for an extension of choice in each service area.

Other areas where people suggested extending the choice of provider included:

  • Sexual health
  • Gynaecology tests such as smears
  • Ear syringing
  • Eating disorders services
  • Management of long term conditions
  • Health Visiting
  • Late evening care
  • Disabled living services for the elderly
  • Speech Therapy
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Terminations
  • Alternative therapies
  • Weight management
  • Adult neurological physiotherapy at present not provided in Stockport

When asked if there were any services which should NOT be opened up to a wider choice of provider, the following services were recommended:

  • A&E
  • Maternity services
  • Diabetes services (including podiatry and wound care)
  • Specialist services (cancer, heart, renal)
  • Learning Disability care
  • Surgery
  • Intensive care

Timing of appointments was a key issue to local people - more than half of respondents wanted to be able to choose when they are treated (important for 55.65%, vital for 25.8%) and over 90% prioritised being treated ‘as soon as possible’ (important to 47.58% and vital to 42.74%).

38.71% said it was important to have a choice of appointments in the evenings or at weekends and 12.9% said this was vital.

49.19% said they would be happy to use any qualified provider if it meant they could be seen quicker and a further 26.61% would consider this. 49.2% of those surveyed felt the extension of AQP could reduce waiting times.

Where you are treated was the next big issues for Stockport residents.

45.97% said it was important to be treated as close to home as possible, and a further 17.74% said this was vital. Having a choice of where you are treated was important to 46.77% of patients and vital for a further 12.9%.

In terms of who provides the service, there was strong support for the continued use of NHS providers – 37.9% said it was vital to them that their treatment was provided by the NHS. A further 26.61% said this was important to them and 16.94% said this was of interest. Only 16% said this was not important to them.

More than half of those who responded wanted to be sure that clinics – whether NHS or private – were accessible (14.52% said this was vital; 43.55% said this was important; and 27.42% said this was of interest to them). Parking was another key issue with 50% saying parking facilities at clinics were important and 17.74% saying they were vital.

Cleanliness of clinics was a key issue – vital to 63.71% and important to a further 30.65%.

Over 80% of respondents valued customer service as a deciding factor in their choice of provider (vital for 43.55% and important for 44.35%) and almost 90% viewed privacy as a key factor in their choice of provider (vital for 54.03% and important for 34.68%).

Dignity and respect was another key issue for local people in their choice of clinic – 68.55% said this was vital to their choice of provider and 27.42% said it was important.

In terms of quality of services, most respondents (68.55%) felt that the NHS could provide a better standard than the private sector - 55.64% felt extending the choice of provider would not improve quality of care. 50.8% felt that NHS staff had better training than private sector employees.


Why your views matter

The Government's white paper for changes to the NHS highlights the importance of patient choice - including more choice of where you are treated.

By October 2011, the Government has asked us to identify three or more community or mental health services to be opened up to "any qualified provider" to offer services. 

We want to know which services local people would like to see opened up to wider choice of clinicians.

What happens next

In October, your views will go to the Greater Manchester PCT Cluster Board, who will agree on three or more areas where we will extend the number of service providers available for patient choice. 

This will then be implemented between April and September 2012.


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