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NHS online “should be a single provider”

23 November 2010

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Patients looking to find NHS information online should only be able to access it from a single provider, a leading consumer group has claimed.

Which? said it would recommend NHS Choices for the role of provider of patient information, as it is “well known by consumers”.

The independent consumer organisation has responded to the Liberating the NHS white paper – which has been seen by the Health Service Journal – through various consultation exercises.

It said out of the key NHS reform proposals, it endorses the principle of a patient-led NHS and that with increased choice “information about the quality of care will be key to enabling this”.

Out of a nearly 2,000 Which? members surveyed, 61% said they would prefer to access health service information through a “one stop shop website”.

According to Which?, the single provider should be “honest, objective, credible, an authority figure, unbiased, consumer friendly/focused, clear and take action where it is needed”.

The group also found that “people continue to view the GP as the key provider of information about health choices”, however “the concept of choice appears to be more relevant to patients when choosing hospitals as opposed to GPs”.

Copyright © Press Association 2010