Have a look at this article:

http://www.e-health-insider.com/news/4753/tories_would_‘end_monopoly’_of_nhs_choices

And the NHS Choices website:

http://www.nhs.uk/Pages/HomePage.aspx

I have to confess I wasn’t really aware of the NHS Choices site because I work for NHS Scotland and the Choices site only covers England. Having had a quick look at it, I’m rather impressed. There’s something that worries me though: giving a rating for a hospital is far too complex an issue to boil down to a simple rating. It reminds me of the effect which so-called choice has had on the school system in London: in my totally subjective experience of living there, I saw well-off people move to areas with highly-rated schools, selling their souls (sometimes literally in the case of church schools) to gain entry; less-well-off people end up attending whichever school was closest, usually one which was lower-ranked. One of the great things about living in London is the fact that people from all races, creeds and classes live cheek-by-jowl. But the Tory housing policy of the 80s and the ongoing school ratings system have undermined that, using public funding and the mantra of “choice” as a means to reward the middle-class voters.

Sorry about the rant ;)  I drafted this last month and then put it on the shelf because I wasn’t sure I wanted to publish it. On re-reading it, I don’t think I’m saying anything very controversial, so what the hell.

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