Letter: NHS choices

Sir: You are right to point out that providing the public with information about the success rates of health services is an important step towards making the NHS more accountable to the people who use and fund it ("NHS league tables will help to improve the nation's health", 17 June). Nonetheless, it is crucial that we are given information we can understand and use.

What we have now is a good start but is of little value on its own. Much of the information contained in it is complex and open to many interpretations. But that should not stop action being taken to address some of the issues the indicators have unearthed.

The health indicators published last week show huge variations in the quality of health care. We now need to know why some hospitals appear to have performed better than others, and why people in some areas have better health than in other places.

We need information that enables people to make real choices about the services they receive. And we should have the chance to use that information to participate in efforts to ensure that the NHS meets people's needs.

ANGELA COULTER

Director of Policy and Development

Kings Fund

London W1

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