Published: 09/05/2002, Volume II2, No. 5804 Page 7

Health information business Dr Foster will publish regional health guides this Monday examining the state of NHS services at a local level.

Dr Foster has teamed up with one of the UK's largest publishers of local daily and evening papers, the Northcliffe Group, to publish the guides - titled Your Hospital 2002 - which will be supplied as supplements to 18 daily and evening newspapers in England.

The guides are due to be published quarterly.

The move is part of an expansion in activity which is likely to see Dr Foster working increasingly closely with NHS organisations and the Department of Health.

Dr Foster chief executive Tim Kelsey said the supplements would provide a guide to local health providers, explaining how users should access services, what they should expect from providers and how well local providers had performed in supplying a wide range of services.They will contain rankings based on hospital mortality rates, hip replacements, heart bypasses and cataract waiting times and vacancy rates.

The information is drawn from clinicians, trusts and other NHS organisations, and Dr Foster's own study of health service data.

The publication of previous Dr Foster reports, such as the consumer hospital guide, has raised questions about the validity of the data.Mr Kelsey said Dr Foster had taken steps to amend some data which had been misleading, but he also claimed that resistance to Dr Foster's scrutiny within the NHS was fading.