Only 30 per cent of patients offered choice of hospital

Latest figures on the implementation of the patient choice initiative show that only 30 per cent of patients remember being offered a selection of hospitals for their first outpatient appointment.

Lord Warner, Health Minister
Lord Warner, Health Minister

The National Patient Choice survey of 79,000 patients in May and June this year has disappointed ministers. Health minister Lord Warner said: "This is the first in a series of surveys collated at the end of May 2006 that shows how well PCTs are offering choice to patients.

‘In 14 PCTS, at least 60 per cent of patients were offered a choice by their GP for their first hospital appointment. These PCTs prove that choice can work.

‘However, some PCTs have performed less well and this has brought down the national average to 30 per cent - this is not good enough and we will need to support these PCTs to improve.’

The main findings of the May/June survey are:

  • 30 per cent of patients recalled being offered a choice of hospital for their first outpatient appointment.
  • 29 per cent of patients were aware before they visited their GP that they had a choice of hospitals for their first appointment.
  • 51 per cent of patients who were aware of choice recalled being offered choice, whereas 21 per cent of those not aware of choice recalled being offered it.
  • 20 per cent of patients who were offered a choice of hospital were also offered a copy of the ‘Choosing your hospital’ booklet.
  • 75 per cent of patients who were offered choice were satisfied with the process and 5 per cent were dissatisfied.
  • Location or transport considerations were given most often, by 57 per cent of patients, as an important factor when choosing a hospital.

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