Information to Patients

This is a very useful site for UK health care consumers.

Developed by the Daily Telegraph newspaper and Dr Foster it is an information service that allows people to check the reputations, results and services provided by both NHS and Independent sector hospitals in their local areas.  It also gives some basic information about MRSA rates.

I am sure that in time the information provided will expand but it is definately a step in the right direction especially if it pushes the NHS in to realising that it should be treating its users as customers!

The government funded quango the Healthcare Commission is in the business of monitoring healthcare providers against a uniformity of centralised standards and targets. Assessing healthcare services in such areas as waiting times, cleanliness and safety they are to English healthcare what Gosplan used to be to the former Soviet Union. They monitor performance against a uniformity of rules and in so doing will actually help to stifle innovation and genuine consumer led competition.

That said, they are also in the business of getting their political pay masters off the hook of past promises. Whereas British politicians once foolishly promised that all tax funded healthcare would only be provided in nationalised hospitals, the Healthcare Commission clearly accepts that this is no longer viable: a bridge has to be built to an increasingly privatised future.

In this context the Healthcare Commission’s new website allowing patients to see how independent sector hospitals and health providers are performing is to be welcomed. Accepting the meaninglessness of much of the data presented – the garbage in garbage out axiom is clearly at play here – it is nevertheless good that patients are being given information which will encourage more people to accept private healthcare as being part of the consensual mainstream.