More information for bowel patients
Patients with bowel disease can study details of a surgeon's performance in their search for a specialist doctor after a new online guide was launched.
The Association of Coloproctology of Great Britain and Ireland (ACPGBI) said it wanted to help patients dealing with the "bewildering experience" of being diagnosed with a serious illness.
The A to Z guide, said to be the first of its kind in the UK, allows patients to search for experts in their condition and find the hospital they work at.
It also includes performance data on individual surgeons across 10 specialities.
The association represents more than 1,000 surgeons, nurses and doctors who specialise in treating patients with bowel diseases.
Association president Karen Nugent said: "Being diagnosed with a serious illness or disease can be a life-changing and bewildering experience. We want to give patients the information they need so they can easily find a surgeon who specialises in their condition.
"This will empower people to choose a surgeon they have full confidence in and make sure they are being referred to the right doctor for their individual needs which will increase transparency."
Professor Norman Williams, president of the Royal College of Surgeons said: "Patients should have access to as much information as possible about their condition so they can make an informed decision about what treatment options exist and the likely outcomes.
"This website is a step forward in transparency - it will help patients to find out which surgeons specialise in their condition. It will also help them in discussions with their GP to decide where, and by whom, they would like to be treated.
"We hope it will inspire other specialist organisations to provide patients with the information they need."
Mark Flannagan, chief executive of the charity Beating Bowel Cancer, said: "It's vital that simple and clear data is available to help patients make decisions and give them choice. We know that patients have a thirst for information, but it can often be difficult for them to access it during what can be a frightening time in their lives.
"This is a positive step forward in providing patients with the information they need and promoting transparency. It's the realisation that patient choice is important and that they should be empowered to make decisions about their treatment.
"This is the start and as more information becomes available, we hope it will develop into what can be a valuable and user friendly tool to help patients find the right surgeon, compare outcomes, and give them the reassurance they need."
The guide can be found at www.acpgbi.org.uk/specialists.