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More choice for patients

11th April 2007

A new package of measures to enable people from disadvantaged communities to access information about treatment is being launched by heath secretary Patricia Hewitt.

The new ways to access information will include a website called NHS Choices and Choice libraries, located within local libraries.

From July, patients will also be able to choose any provider in the country for orthopaedic and hip replacement treatments.

At the Choice libraries, trained librarians will be able to assist users in selecting hospitals and booking appointments online.

The website will go live this summer. It will offer a searchable database of service providers and comparative data on hospital performance.

Patients will also be able to use the service to access medical literature which was previously only available to medical professionals. These will include explanations of various procedures and advice on how to manage long-term conditions.

Patients will also be able to use the site to provide feedback on their experiences.

Ms Hewitt said: "Patients will soon be able to choose, with the click of a button, where they want to have their treatment.

"Our new choice website will allow the public and clinicians to access a range of information through one super site that will act as a gateway to navigate NHS services."