The aim of AQP, a national scheme, is to extend choice; enabling patients who are referred by their GP for a particular community service to choose, where appropriate, from a range of qualified providers and select the one that best meets their needs.
Earlier this year, following a local consultation with the public, other stakeholders and the emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the first three services were chosen from a national list for extending patient choice of provider.
The AQP services available in Hampshire, Southampton and Portsmouth are:
• Adult hearing services (for over 55s)
• Musculoskeletal services for back and neck pain – 'MSK' (for adults)
• Continence Services for Adults and Children
Access to the Adult Hearing and MSK service – is via the patient's GP. Continence services are open to self-referral, as well as via the patient's GP.
Extending patient choice of provider is expected to:
• Allow patients to choose where they receive further treatment.
• Provide improved access to services which are closer to home and have extended weekend and evening opening times.
• Improve quality and reduce waiting times to access the services.
• Deliver clinically effective treatments, which reduce the demand on secondary care services and reduce the need for more costly treatments.
• Provide community services that have a strong emphasis on patient education and self-management.
Musculoskeletal Service for Back and Neck Pain (Adult)
This service offers a community-based assessment, treatment and management service for back and neck pain. Access to the service is by GP referral. The range of available treatments includes chiropractic, osteopathy and physiotherapy.
Adult Hearing Service for over 55s
This service offers GP direct access to an adult hearing assessment service, including hearing aid fitting (where required), follow-up and aftercare services for adults aged 55 or over, with suspected or diagnosed age-related hearing loss.
Community Continence Service (Children and Adults)
This is a community bladder/bowel dysfunction service for patients with or without incontinence in order to provide effective and efficient clinical care and treatment. Access to the service is either by GP or self-referral. For children aged 0-2 years access is on agreement by paediatric continence nurse.
Useful links for the general public
• AQP map and directory of services - On 13 December 2012, the Department of Health published an updated map of local community services where patients will have a choice of provider through the AQP initiative.The AQP map and directory of services will mean patients and commissioners can easily access comprehensive information on which community health services are available under AQP in their area, as well as detailed information on each of the providers.
• Supply2health AQP information page, for patients - should you have any queries with regard to AQP, you can find further information on the Supply2health website.
Useful links and resources for providers
• Branding and Communications Guidance (including Top Tips)
• NHS Business Partners Miniguide - Introductory guidance for NHS-commissioned healthcare providers from the independent and third sectors
• NHS Brand Guidlines website - Whether you are a communications professional working within the NHS, or an external supplier providing design or print services, these guidelines will show you how to use the NHS brand properly and effectively.