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How patients choose and how providers respond
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Lead: Anna Dixon
Department of Health

Patients are able to make more choices about where they receive NHS health care services.

The research aims to find out:

  • what factors patients take into account when choosing a hospital;
  • what support and advice different patients are given to exercise their choice and how this affects the choices they make;
  • how providers respond to a situation where patients are free to chose to go to other providers, there is publicly available information about their services and they lose money if patients chose to go elsewhere.

There are three main components to the research which will take place in four different locations in England:

Firstly, the study will gather information on which hospitals patients chose, what options they chose from and the things they considered when making the decision. It will also ask them some questions about what choice of hospital they would make under different hypothetical circumstances. This information will be used to understand the relative importance of different factors when patients make a choice of hospital at the point their GP refers them to a specialist.

Secondly, the research will ask people generally about their experience of being offered a choice and what sort of information and advice they received, who from and how much notice they took of it. It will also ask GPs about their experience of offering choice to patients. It will use this information to understand how different sorts of patients are supported in making a choice of hospital.

Thirdly, the research will interview senior managers in hospitals to find out what difference patient choice makes to how they run the hospital and what impact it has had on their business plans and activities. The study also wants to know how other things such as how they are paid, what standards they have to meet and the contracts they have with the organisations that buy health services affect their business.


Last updated: 13 August 2013:
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