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BMJ launches patient website

9th May 2006

09052006_laptopstethoscope1.jpgThe British Medical Journal has launched a website providing information on dozens of diseases. The Best Treatments site (www.besttreatments.co.uk) is designed to give accurate, up-to-date and jargon-free information.

It has sections on men's, women's and children's health and lists of symptoms, treatments and questions for people to ask their doctor, with a guide on how to weigh up the evidence from medical research. There is also a section on what to expect from operations and tests.

Cherill Hicks, Website editor, said that 'Patients need comprehensive and reliable information in order to make decisions about their treatments'. She added that the site had not been sponsored, and so readers could be confident that they were reading impartial information.

Commenting on the site, Dr Brian Fisher, a GP in Lewisham, south east London, said the evidence was that patients who were given more information and took part in shared decision-making with doctors used the NHS less and had better outcomes.

Dr Trefor Roscoe, a GP in Sheffield, said the site was well-balanced.  He added that although some people jumped to the wrong conclusion when they have looked at things on the net, 'the quality of information on the internet is improving all the time.'

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