Abstracts: September 5th, 2007

This report from the Department for Health describes progress in implementing patient choice of hospitals. Since January 2006, patients referred by their GP for elective care should have been offered clinically appropriate choices from a list of four or more providers commissioned by their Primary Care Trust.

The findings show a greater awareness by patients before they visited their GP that they had a choice of hospitals for their first appointment. In November 2006, 36% were aware of the choice they could make compared to 29% in the May 2007. More patients are also being offered a choice. The figure has risen from 30% in May 2006 to 41% to May 2007.

Nearly four out of five patients who were offered a choice were satisfied with the process of choosing their hospital. 27% were ‘fairly satisfied’ and 52% ‘very satisfied’, whilst 5% were dissatisfied.

Location or transport considerations were most commonly cited as an important factor when choosing a hospital. For 64% of patients this was the prime consideration. Other frequently cited important factors were waiting times, the reputation of the hospital, cleanliness and quality of care.

The report is available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/idcplg?IdcService=GET_FILE&dID=141769&Rendition=Web