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Wednesday 31 July 2013

Patient information leaflets: “a stupid system”

The NHS’s multifarious patient information leaflets are inaccurate, inconsistent, and confusing, finds Margaret McCartney, and effort is duplicated because each trust commissions its own, often from the private sector
The so called patient revolution is nothing without quality information. And so the NHS is awash with patient information, especially leaflets, in hospital wards, outpatient clinics, and general practitioners’ surgeries. Some trusts commission leaflets from external, profit making companies; others write their own. But how efficiently does the health service coordinate them, and are leaflets tested for effectiveness on patients?
In a recent study researchers asked 128 trusts for leaflets given to patients after an inguinal hernia repair, and 93 trusts responded.1 Almost one in five trusts sent a leaflet created by a private company, Eido Healthcare. Others had inconsistent guidance on when to return to office work (ranging 1 to 6 weeks) or manual work (2 to 12 weeks). Similarly, leaflets gave conflicting advice about when to resume driving, sex, and sport. This means that patients are being given very different information about the effects of the same surgery, depending on where they live and which leaflets are used.
A similar study examined leaflets provided to patients who had been offered extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy. The researchers found that the leaflets did not consistently mention common recognised complications and some were not mentioned at all.2 Another study, which examined patient information leaflets …

1 comment:

blinkered said...

Some years ago now ,when I first heard I had suffered a massive bleed in my eye ad needed laser treatment I attempted to find some informaon about it from the hospital. There was no leafle to be had although they are quite good at this in general
So I looked on the web and found various leaflets published by Trusts up and doen the country.
Some were very detailed others had very little useful info.
After reading hem all I gathered hat there were certain common side effects which could be expected to wear off eventually.
i was very glad to know this because i suffered them for the full two monthds until my next appointment. No furher info had been offered by my own hospital
When I went for the check up I mentioned the side effects -flashing lights etc.
They were horrified . Side effects if any should only have lasted a few days.
My retina had been "fried" -the laser had beee too intense. My eye has never really recovered and the retina is badly scarred making detachment more likely during all the other procedures i have undergone.
I am not sure what if anything could have beeen done to rectify the situaion but my experience echoes the findings of this study