Wednesday, 16 September 2015 18:57

Patients 'more aware of NHS choice'

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Patients 'more aware of NHS choice'

Rural residents are more aware of their right to choose where they receive NHS care, suggests a survey.

Conducted by NHS England and Monitor, the government says the survey indicates that more needs to be done to promote patient choice across the NHS.

Too few NHS patients say that they are being offered a choice about where they receive care, according to findings published on Wednesday (16 September).

Some 40% of respondents to the annual survey into patient choice said they were offered a choice of hospital or clinic for their first outpatient appointment by their GPs.

This was a small improvement from last year’s 38%, said the government.

The survey indicated that, where patients are offered a choice, they are much more likely to be able to go to the hospital or clinic they want.

The survey asked more than 2,700 patients questions about the options they were offered by their GP when being referred for an outpatient appointment.

People living in rural areas were more likely than those living in urban areas to be aware of their right to choose (52% vs 46%) and to be offered a choice (42% vs 39%)

Some 47% of patients were aware of their right to choose a hospital or clinic for their outpatient appointment, which has decreased from 51% last year

Two thirds of young people (18 - 25 year olds) weren’t offered a choice (64%), but those that were offered a choice were the most likely to engage with their GP and discuss where to go (79%).

Among those who were offered a choice of where to go for their first outpatient appointment, almost 9 in 10 (88%) said that they had enough information to help them make their decision

Catherine Davies, executive director of co-operation and competition at Monitor, said GPs were continuing to have helpful conversations with patients and offering more choice.

“We think it’s only right that patients are in the driving seat when it comes to making decisions that affect their health,” she said.

But there was still more the NHS could do to make sure patients are aware of their legal right to choose and are able to make a choice.

Monitor and NHS England would continue to support the sector to use these findings and increase the number of patients exercising their right to choose providers of healthcare.

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