Headlines: August 14th, 2009

The NHS has extended the range of comparison websites with the launch of a site to help patients decide which hospital to choose for treatment. Patients are able to get the information they need to make a choice of hospital in the same way they might use ComparetheMarket.com.

Although patients have been able for some time to choose the hospital for their treatment, they have had to devise their own scorecard, based on gathering data from different websites to make a judgement. The new facility brings together all information to one place about mortality and infection rates including MRSA and Clostridium difficile, cleanliness, staff performance and the quality of food. There is also feedback from former patients on issues such as whether they were involved in decisions around their care and if they would recommend the hospital to friends and family.

All hospitals are being asked to encourage patients to use the website to provide feedback on their hospital experience. It is expected that by making hospitals aware of any issues about their service the effect will be to drive up standards and make them more patient focused.

Michael Summers, Vice Chairman of the Patients Association, said: “The more information that patients have about local availability of their healthcare and the standards that they are looking for, the better it is. We would fully support the launch of this important web tool and would hope that patients will benefit substantially from it.”

A GP comparison website is due to be launched in the autumn.