NHS Confederation responds to the DHSC announcement on more choice for NHS patients to cut waiting times
Responding to the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announcement on more choice for NHS patients to cut waiting times, Rory Deighton, director of the acute network at the NHS Confederation, said:
"Health leaders are always keen to find new ways of working to deliver the very best care for patients, and giving patients more choice can only be a good thing for them.
“Leaders recognise that patient choice can empower individuals by involving them in decisions about their healthcare and educating them on their condition. This shift can enhance patient satisfaction, engagement, and collaboration in the treatment process.
“At the same time while it provides opportunities for patients to access high-quality care, it may also exacerbate existing health inequalities. Patients with better knowledge, resources, or support systems may be more capable of exercising choice.
“In addition patients may choose different providers for various aspects of their care, leading to a lack of overall care coordination and continuity. This can affect communication, information sharing, and the overall effectiveness.
"Ensuring that patients have access to reliable and understandable information about their healthcare options is crucial and patients may have to consider factors such as cost-sharing, travel expenses, and out-of-pocket expenses.
"Choice works well in a system that is well funded, with sufficient workforce and a well funded relationship with the independent sector. In the current environment, with no new resources, it will be interesting to see how much capacity this new policy actually creates, and how many people are helped off the elective waiting lists.”