Complete 4 pages APA formatted article: The NHS Improvement Plan 2004. imaging tests who do not have an appointment within 20 weeks will be offered the choice of having their
scan at another provider within a maximum of 20 weeks. This brings new challenges to the NHS, for it
covers all diagnostic imaging tests apart from CT and MRI, and other clinical specialities like
echocardiography, ultrasound scanning performed in urology/urodynamics and GI physiology, and vascular
scanning performed in vascular technology departments. This obviously brings the independent providers
into the scene.
It is true that whenever choice is introduced, local services tend to improve. Firstly, the
threat of competition leads local services to improve their standards. Second, choice leads to
the creation of new provision which benefits local people. This will certainly ring true for the
imaging services as well. People are to have control over issues like when and where to get a
screening done and thereby ensure the quality and convenience that they want. But the local independent
sector providers are more or less new to the market. As such, strong management and co-ordination of
services by clinicians, radiographers and managers is imperative for ensuring the safety of the patients.
Moreover, there are various concerns about the quality of service provided by the independent sector. In
June 2004, Alliance Medical Ltd. won a contract to supply the NHS with 130000 MRI Scans per annum
for five years. The contract was widely criticised by healthcare unions, including the Society of
Radiographers (SoR) which said that the government should have consulted radiographers and those who
knew the service best.