Hospital choice for patients20th March 2008
The government will allow patients to select which hospital they wish to attend from April 2008 if they are receiving non-emergency treatment.
The programme to extend choice within the health service was started in January 2006 and incorporates local hospitals and some private organisations.
The media will publish information about the programme in order to spread knowledge to patients.
Health minister Ben Bradshaw said: "Choice is fundamental to the delivery of a personalised NHS. People would like to have more control and be more involved in the decisions about their illness and treatment."
He added that more choice would help to improve standards within the health service.
The final part of the extended choice programme could be affected by difficulties with the current Choose and Book system for GPs, which allows appointments to be made online.
This is only in use for 50% of referrals because of delays to the system, forcing patients and doctors to phone hospitals themselves.
Researchers from the King's Fund said that the programme could potentially make "health inequalities" worse, because more educated people would consider multiple options before choosing, while the less educated and those from poorer areas would just go to their local hospital.
At the moment, a patient can choose from around five local hospitals and a selection of approved independent sector treatment centres, private centres and foundation hospitals.
Karen Jennings, head of health at Unison, said: "Hospitals need to concentrate on taking care of patients, not wasting time and precious money on their next campaign."
Share this page
There are no comments for this article, be the first to comment!
Post your comment
Only registered users can comment. Fill in your e-mail address for quick registration.
Title: Hospital choice for patients
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 6062
Date Added: 20th Mar 2008