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Patients to get tests site choice

Patients will be able to choose where they have essential medical tests under a new scheme.

The Department of Health said the system, starting from April 2013, would allow people to choose to have common procedures like heart scans and blood tests nearer their workplace or home.

Changes are also being made to the system used to select which hospital a patient goes to for treatment, Choose and Book, by providing them with more detailed information about waiting times at different centres.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "Our NHS reforms are all about making life easier for patients.

"We will make medical tests work for you, not the system, by allowing you to choose where it will be most convenient for you to go.

"By giving you information about how long it will take for you to wait to be treated you will be able to choose the hospital that best meets your needs.

"No two people are the same, and that's why our plans will offer patients more personalised care, ensuring that no decision about me is made without me."

The plans are outlined in a document, "Liberating the NHS: No decisions about me, without me".

The Department of Health is also launching a consultation on increasing the amount of choice and access to information that patients have.

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