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Results from National Patient Choice Survey

The UK Department of Health has published the main findings of the March 2009 National Patient Choice Survey, covering England

The UK Department of Health (DH) has published the main findings of the March 2009 National Patient Choice Survey, covering England.

The findings take into account around 93,000 responses to the 17th such survey commissioned to assess the implementation of choice at Primary Care Trust (PCT) level. The surveys, conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of the DH, monitor patient awareness of choice and recall of having been offered a choice of hospital for their first outpatient appointment.

The main findings are:
The percentage of patients recalling being offered a choice of hospital for their first outpatient appointment was 47 per cent in March 2009, up from 46 per cent in December 2008 and 30 per cent in the first survey (May/June 2006).

Half of patients were aware before they visited their GP that they had a choice of hospitals for their first appointment, the same as in December 2008 and up from 29 per cent in the May/June 2006 survey.

A total of 62 per cent of patients who were aware of choice recalled being offered choice, while 32 per cent of those not aware of choice recalled being offered it, similar to the December survey (61 per cent and 32 per cent, respectively).

A total of 67 per cent of patients were able to go to the hospital they wanted, with a further 23 per cent having no preference and 8 per cent unable to go where they wanted, compared with 68 per cent, 23 per cent and 7 per cent, respectively, in December 2008.

The survey found that 89 per cent of patients offered choice were able to go to the hospital they wanted, with a further 4 per cent having no preference. This compares with 46 per cent of patients not offered choice able to go where they wanted and 41 per cent having no preference.

Over three-quarters (76 per cent) of patients were satisfied with how long they had to wait from the time their GP referred them to when they saw the hospital specialist.

Hospital cleanliness and low infection rates were selected most often (by 74 per cent of patients) as an important factor when choosing a hospital.

6th August 2009

From: Healthcare

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