Chance for your say on health care

PATIENTS in Suffolk are being urged to add their opinions to a new website which aims to give an independent view of hospitals across the country.The Patient Opinion website has been set up by a GP in Sheffield as an alternative to official data like star-ratings.

PATIENTS in Suffolk are being urged to add their opinions to a new website which aims to give an independent view of hospitals across the country.

The Patient Opinion website has been set up by a GP in Sheffield as an alternative to official data like star-ratings.

People are encouraged to write about their experiences at hospitals, whether they are positive or negative, and it is expected that health bosses will regularly check the site for feedback on their organisations.

Patients are asked to give marks out of five for aspects such as the standard of nursing and medical care, cleanliness, parking, and whether they were treated with respect and dignity.

Dr Paul Hodgkin, creator of the site, said: “There's lots of official information about the NHS available on the internet.

“You can find out which hospital got two stars and - if you're persistent - what the MRSA infection rate is.

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“But what people also want is to find out what other patients thought of services.”

The website covers all acute hospitals in England, with plans to extend this to the private sector and mental health providers from March.

All comments are previewed before being published and the site is free to use and completely confidential.

A pilot of the website in South Yorkshire found more than half of the postings praised the NHS or said thank you. Around a third were critical, with suggestions on how the NHS could do better.

There are currently no comments about Ipswich Hospital on the site.

Dr Hodgkin said: “The website is separate from the NHS, but funded by subscriptions from hospitals and PCTs who want to access patient feedback to improve services.”

The project has been supported by the Department of Health and South Yorkshire Strategic Health Authority.

WEBLINK: www.patientopinion.org.uk

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