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NHS launches 'one-stop' website

Published on 06/11/03 at 01:44pm

A new one-stop NHS website portal for the public and patients has been officially launched by the government.

The site has been live for some time but the government has expanded its capabilities, and is now promoting it as a leading component of a more user-friendly NHS.

Health minister John Hutton officially launched claiming it will play a key role in improving patient choice and consultation and guide users to a number of local services.

"As we extend the choices available to patients, will play an essential role in helping patients choose the right options," he said. "Our consultation on patient choice is currently looking at the kind of advice and support that patients need to help them make choices and will complement this aim."

" provides rapid access for patients to the fullest possible information about all the services we provide," he said. "If we can get this right we can help patients get the most out of using the NHS - information is power and patients need more of it."

The minister emphasised the important role the site would play in giving patients direct and easy access to a wide range of local NHS services.

" will come into its own, not only as a rich source of information but also as a gateway to what exists elsewhere. It can help you find a local walk-in clinic, find out about waiting times and tell you about local hospitals and the services it provides.

"It can also help you access innovative schemes, like the one at Royal Liverpool & Broadgreen NHS Trust where you can send an email to a patient in hospital."

The search list also provides information about local NHS opticians, pharmacies, GP surgeries and pharmacies. Other features include 'NHS Update' and 'Patients' Voice' where the public can express views or make a complaint. The site also provides national information about the NHS and links to other useful sites.

From the end of 2005 the site - already used by five million people - will provide an electronic booking system - based at GP surgeries - providing information on waiting times for patients who need planned surgery and have been referred by their GP to a choice of four or five hospitals.

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