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Picking the right hospital

Your choice of hospital will depend on the type of treatment you may need.

For example, if you expect to be prescribed a simple course of medication, your choice of hospital may be based largely on convenience, such as how far away the hospital is, waiting times and parking facilities.

If you're likely to need an operation, such as a hip replacement, your choice will probably be based on other factors. Clinical ratings, such as infection and mortality rates, may be more important, especially if results vary significantly between hospitals.

How far should I travel?

How far you have to travel to the hospital may be important if you have to spend a long time in hospital or you need to return often to the same hospital.

This doesn't mean that you should choose a local hospital if its results are poor. But you may not want to go to a hospital hundreds of miles away if it will stop you seeing your friends and family for a long time, or if you have to travel there frequently. On the other hand, you may want to travel further if you can be treated more quickly. For example, an amateur sportsman who needs a ligament repaired in his knee may be prepared to travel to the other end of the country if it means he can receive the best treatment quickly.

Expect to make compromises to find the right balance between convenience and clinical results. If you're thinking of choosing a hospital that's far away, talk to your friends and family to allow them to plan.

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