NHS Choices is a comprehensive information service that helps to put you in control of your healthcare. This service is intended to help you make choices about your health, from lifestyle decisions about things like smoking, drinking and exercise, through to the practical aspects of finding and using NHS services in England when you need them.
It draws together the knowledge and expertise of:
- The National Library for Health.
- The Information Centre for Health and Social Care.
- The Healthcare Commission and many other organisations.
- Since the integration of the on-line arm of NHS Direct in October 2008, NHS Choices provides a single 'front door' for the public to all NHS on-line services and information through the country's biggest health website.
Their many sections include:
Medical Advice Now - information for those with an immediate medical worry, including:
- The self-help guide: a quick and easy way to check symptoms and decide whether to seek medical help.
- Common health questions: answers to topical and frequently asked health questions.
- The on-line enquiry service: submit questions and receive answers by e-mail on non-urgent matters.
Find telephone numbers and full details for all the health services in your area, everything from GPs and dentists to carer services and gyms. There are around 30 national directories you can search by simply entering your postcode.
This section explains more than 750 conditions and treatments in an easy and comprehensive way in words, pictures and video. Top doctors and health professionals share their knowledge and advice while patients give an insight into coping with particular conditions and treatments.
If you are referred to hospital to see a specialist or to have treatment, you can compare hospitals you might go to by various criteria covering such things as cleanliness, experience of a certain procedure and, in some cases, survival rates, through to car parking arrangements, general facilities or availability of A&E departments.
Live Well is a lifestyle section that provides guides, tips and high-quality information on how to live a healthier life. Covering around 80 broad topic areas, there's always something new to find, with articles, videos and interactive tools being continually added.
Carers Direct is a support service for the five million people in England who look after someone else. The site is full of information covering all aspects of caring, including advice and support, benefits, local services and more.
Behind the headlines
Provides an unbiased and evidence-based daily analysis of the science behind health stories that make the news. It aims to respond to stories the day they appear in the media.
Read blogs with the latest views, news and tips on a range of topics and conditions from more than 100 patients, carers and medical professionals. This is an expanding area which will soon include a range of discussion forums and an "Ask the doctor" feature where GPs will select the most interesting questions and publish the answers.
Add your comments to the site in several areas. One of the main features allows you to comment on hospitals, saying what you did or didn't like and what you think could be improved. Your comments will eventually become part of an overall "ranking" showing public opinion of every hospital that does NHS work in England.
You can also add comments to a wide range of articles and blogs across the website. For more information on how to comment on NHS Choices, read their 'comments policy'.
Get your own account
Creating an account will let you tailor NHS Choices to your interests, save information such as details of your GP and dentist, index pages that interest you and receive e-mails on your chosen topics and health goals.
Videos, multimedia tools and links
All NHS Choices video and audio content, along with a growing range of interactive tools - symptom checkers, quizzes, calculators and information features - are collected in a multimedia library, and the Links library offers more than 1,200 addresses of health-related websites offering specialist support and information.
NHS Choices mobile
NHS Choices Mobile is a joint service run by NHS Choices and DirectGov. The text service enables you to find local NHS services, such as hospitals or dentists. It also offers several interactive tools, for example, you can check your alcohol intake, the cost of smoking or see if you are a healthy weight.
NHS Choices magazine
Published quarterly, this lifestyle magazine contains many of the NHS Choices on-line features and more.
Whilst all the information given in this document was correct at the time of going to press, DIAL Doncaster cannot be held responsible for any subsequent changes.