Anna Dixon, director of policy at The King's Fund, said:
'The two consultations launched today set out a laudable long-term vision where patients have better access to information and more control over their care.
'Proposals to increase access to accurate information about services, user experience and outcomes pose a huge technical challenge and will not be without their costs. Publishing this information will only have benefits to patients and clinicians if the information is accessible, comparable and easily understood.
'We support the government's commitment that there should be 'no decision about me without me'. Making this a reality for all patients will require not only more accessible information about care and treatment options and the risks and benefits of each, but a cultural change for clinicians and patients.
'The government has rightly recognised the challenge of making patient choice work in practice. Our own research shows that while patients value choice, it is not yet acting as a sufficiently strong lever to improve the quality of health care.
'Patients rely on personal experience, the experience of family and friends and their GP's advice rather than consulting comparable information on the quality of hospital services. In whatever decisions they face, many patients will still want advice and the opportunity to discuss the choices they face. Information is an important enabler of choice but it is not the only one and has many benefits besides.'
Notes to editors:
1. For further information or interviews, please contact The King’s Fund media and public affairs office on 020 7307 2585.
2. The King’s Fund is a charity that seeks to understand how the health system in England can be improved. Using that insight, we help to shape policy, transform services and bring about behaviour change. Our work includes research, analysis, leadership development and service improvement. We also offer a wide range of resources to help everyone working in health to share knowledge, learning and ideas.