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Well just fancy that....

The following dry as dust announcement appears at Pravda Central:

"Statistical Press Notice: Patient Choice Survey Friday 19 Oct 2007

The following statistics were released today by the Department of Health:

Report on the National Patient Choice Survey May 2007 England and provisional headline results of the July 2007 survey".

I will admit to being something of a drop-forged cynic, and experience has also shown that the drier the announcement, the more certain it is that an announcement containing bad news is being sneaked out purely because there is an obligation of disclosure, with the hope being that no-one will bother digging deeper.

And, lo and behold, it is not news that Alan Johnson has made haste to associate himself with:

In May, the percentage of patients offered a choice of hospitals has fallen on the quarter, the percentage of patients offered a booklet on hospital choice has fallen, and those aware of choice prior to a GP appointment is effectively static.

The worst SHA areas for awareness etc etc are London, the South East Coast and the East of England. The best are the East Midlands and the North West - the only two where a majority were offered a choice. Bottom of the class for offering a choice was Brighton & Hove City Teaching Hospital - 18%, and the highest, East Lancs - 67%.

The provisional results f0r July show further falls. Tweaking the positioning of my cynical hat, I would imagine that having made all the noise about making patient choice, the government is less than keen on making it real, as press releases (and newspaper headlines) are easy wins, but making things happen is a good deal harder, given the culture of the NHS.

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