Healthcare: Ministers urged to improve comms

The Government has been urged to improve the way it communicates with patients in order to make its patient choice initiative more effective.

Patients: want more options
Patients: want more options

Carole North, MD of 90TenHealthcare, said ministers had failed to make enough patients aware of the options open to them. 'The Government should be doing something to address this problem. It needs to be talking to patients in a language and tone that they understand,' she said.

The call to action follows mounting unease about patient choice. British Medical Association chairman of council Dr Hamish Meldrum told the Health Select Committee last week that the UK Government's patient choice initiative may be worsening health inequalities across the nation.

Meanwhile, recent research by The King's Fund health think-tank found in a poll of 1,000 people that those with a formal education were likely to choose the best hospitals.

North's comments also come on the back of the latest Pharmaceutical Marketing Society event looking at patient support programmes, which aim to better educate patients.

Speakers at the event included Britannia Pharmaceuticals nurse specialist Jane Mills, Essentiapharm commercial controller Susan Pollock and Roche Products brand manager Richard Sawyer.

All three speakers agreed that investment in patient support programmes, usually implemented by healthcare comms agencies, can be costly and complex. However, all were unanimous in their opinion that such programmes are invaluable to patients.

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