Magazine article Public Finance

Patients Prefer Quality to Shorter Waiting Times

Magazine article Public Finance

Patients Prefer Quality to Shorter Waiting Times

Article excerpt

Patients are willing to ignore the government's flagship choice initiative in favour of receiving better hospital care, according to a report published this week.

A joint study by the King's Fund, researchers Rand Europe and City University, London, found that patients were more likely to choose a hospital with a good reputation over one with shorter waiting times. The findings corroborate last week's British Medical Association survey, in which patients stated preferences from a list of ten NHS priorities. Cleaner hospitals came top; choice of where to have an operation tenth.

This week's study was based on the London Patient Choice Project. Although only 35% of patients chose their local hospital, they were less likely to opt for another one if it had a poor reputation. Alternative providers were also more likely to be shunned the further away they were; if they were abroad; if patients had to organise and pay for their own travel; and if follow-up care was provided in the alternative hospital. …

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