Patients want to choose hospitals on the basis of quality of care but there is too little data to help them come to a conclusion, a report has found.

Patients want to choose hospitals on the basis of quality of care but there is too little data to help them come to a conclusion, a report has found.

The study by the King's Fund and the Rand Corporation found that of 1,000 people surveyed, clinical quality was the most valued factor in choosing where to go for treatment.

Report co-author Professor John Appleby said: 'When patients are making their choices, any information they can get about clinical quality ? the impact on their health ? will be very important in grading that choice. It is the signal patients will send in the market place.'

But little data is currently available to the public, Professor Appleby added. He said patients wanted results at the level of the individual clinician or clinical firm.

The study also found that reductions in waiting time below 10 weeks from GP referral to treatment had no influence on hospital choice. Advice from GPs was important but not an over-riding factor, unless the doctor specifically warned against going to a particular hospital.