A pioneering online public information service is today being launched across the South of England.

The ‘Our Health’ website is the first of its kind in England. It aims to transform the way that patients, their carers and health professionals access and share the latest information on a range of key local health and care services across the South.

The Our Health website was developed in the South West, initially providing information on local stroke and dementia services.

The website received the Prime Minister’s backing in March 2012, when David Cameron launched his ‘Challenge on Dementia’ and set out the need to promote local information on dementia services.

One of the key commitments in the Prime Minister’s Dementia Challenge is that:

  • The information offer pioneered by the NHS in the South West will be rolled out across the South by the end of 2012, and
  • From April 2013, similar information will be available across all other parts of the country.

Today sees the roll out of the website across the South of England.

As part of the Government’s drive for greater transparency and open data, the Our Health website has been developed as a tool that delivers improved access to information about public services. More and better information helps patients to make crucial decisions about their care and published comparisons help drive up the quality of services.

The site brings together latest information from a wide range of sources and data not currently available, plus networking facilities so that patients and carers can link up to share and compare information and experiences.

Patients, their friends and families will be able to find out more about a particular health condition (initially stroke and dementia) and will be able to see what treatment and services they can expect at different stages. Those visiting the website will be able to click on a map to identify relevant services in their local area. It will be possible to compare these services with other services locally and across the South.

Comparing information about different treatments and services will enable both patients and practitioners to make decisions about their treatment and care.

Sir Ian Carruthers, OBE, Chief Executive of NHS South of England, has been leading work to deliver the Prime Minister’s Challenge on Dementia. Sir Ian said: “Improving services for people with dementia is a top priority for the NHS and Social Care and this new website gives people another way to access important information about the services available to them and how well they are performing.”

Our Health is not just about public services. By working with community and voluntary organisations as well as local authority partners, Our Health offers information on a wide range of services and will help people to find out what is offered in their local area and compare the range and quality of services offered locally with others across the region.

Mrs Chris Wyatt, Area Manager for the Alzheimer’s Society in the South of England, said: “We have been delighted to be involved in the development of the Our Health website. The Alzheimer’s Society is very keen to support people with dementia, their families and carers, to access the information and services they need. By working in partnership with the NHS, we hope to be able to reach more people and offer them a wider range of support.”

Richard Gleave, Director of Programmes and Patient Experience at NHS South of England, said: “We have engaged with a wide range of people throughout this project, from patients and clinicians to voluntary sector partners and members of the public. They have all told us they do not want to see pages and pages of data. For transparency to be meaningful, they want access to information that is easy to understand and helps them to make decisions and choices about their care. So this is what we have worked to create with Our Health.”

The Our Health website also provides a forum for people to feedback on their experiences and connect with others in similar situations.

Norrms McNamara was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease in September 2008, aged 50. Norrms has been involved in the development of this website and says: “I’m pleased to have been involved in developing the Our Health website. This website will help people like me, with dementia, our families and carers to not only find out about local dementia services, but to also understand what we can expect from those services. For me, the chance to give feedback to services and share my experiences on the online forum is a really important part of the website and one that will help to shape and improve services in future.”

Following the launch of Our Health in the South, the website will soon be rolled out across the rest of the country. Richard Gleave added, “I am delighted to have the opportunity to share and develop this important information service. By helping others to build on our work, I am sure that we will find even more innovative ways to help people use and share information for the benefit of patients and their families.” 

Notes for Editors:

  1. To visit the Our Health website, go to one of the following web addresses:

www.ourhealth.southcentral.nhs.uk

www.ourhealth.southeastcoast.nhs.uk

www.ourhealth.southwest.nhs.uk

For more information please contact: 

Claire Warner, Transparency Project Manager, NHS South of England, on

01823 361204 or 07976 370672, or

The communications team at NHS South of England on 01823 361367.