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25.09.14

Patients willing to travel 100 miles to avoid hospital infections

Patients would be willing to travel up to 100 miles to avoid being treated in a hospital with a poor record for healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), according to new research.

A survey from MindMetre shows that 76% of patients say that if they learned that their hospital was a low performer on HCAI reduction, they would insist their GP referred them to a hospital with a better record.

When asked how far they would be willing to travel to be treated in a different hospital, 48% said they would travel 100 miles. The survey suggested that 62% said they would travel 50 miles and 83% said they would be happy to travel 20 miles.

Paul Lindsell, managing director at MindMetre Research, said: “In the new structure of the NHS, with acute clinical services commissioned by GP-managed CCGs, patient mobility has become a clear and present reality. Patients, in partnership with their GP, can choose to be treated at an acute trust of their choice, with the associated funds following the patient. CCGs are clearly charged with the mandate to improve patient outcomes, and so offering this level of patient choice is systemically built in to the new NHS structure.”

He noted that acute trusts have done a good job addressing specific HSIAs such as MRSA and C. difficile, but said there is a “rising tide” of other infections and the problem needs to be addressed holistically.

“This research note clearly demonstrates that acute trusts need to take their initiatives to reduce HCAIs even more seriously if they are to avoid patients opting to be treated at a hospital with a better record, with funds following the patient,” he said.

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