The Dr Foster website – a vital tool in tackling NHS medical negligence

If you are admitted to hospital, you want to know that you are being looked after by competent medical professionals who will give you the best possible chance of returning to full health. Unfortunately, there are some NHS hospitals in the UK which do not provide the level of care required meaning that patients in their care are at risk of major and possibly fatal complications.

Thankfully, the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London has set up www.drfosterhealth.co.uk , a website which enables patients to compare the performance and services offered by different hospitals across the country. The in-depth research they carry out enables visitors to the site to find out about both hospitals and individual consultants.

We firmly believe that this website will prove extremely important in reducing the number of victims of medical negligence in NHS hospitals. Aside from comparing hospitals like many sites may claim to do, the Dr Foster website actually encourages improvements in healthcare, underpinned by the revolutionary work being done in the university’s Dr Foster unit to establish measures that will improve hospital performance nationwide. Indeed, those who ignore these measures are shown to have higher fatality rates.

The website contains various features which facilitate patient choice and enable the sick and injured to target hospitals and doctors who may be particularly well placed to help them whilst avoiding those which may be more likely to cause them harm. Patients can run searches based on their ailment, procedure needed or local area and can identify the relevant specialists nearby.

The Dr Foster Hospital Guide is also available to download as a PDF from the website, which is perhaps the best available guide for comparing hospitals based on various criteria. The level of detail truly is impressive. Not only can you look at the mortality rate for different hospitals and procedures, but you can read an explanation of why it might be higher for a hospital which only carries the procedure out rarely.

We are very impressed with the work of the Dr Foster Unit and encourage people to make use of the excellent website. In the coming weeks we will be drawing attention to the hospitals which perform well as well as exposing those which perform badly. It comes as no surprise to us that the hospitals with low ratings are those who find themselves paying out a lot of money in medical negligence compensation. If genuinely appalling standards of medical care at such places as at Stafford Hospital are to improve, then more hospitals will need to follow the best practice guidance from the Dr Foster unit

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