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Patient Advice and Liaison Service 

How to find further information

What’s available on the Internet?

The Internet provides a large amount of healthcare information, and more people are using it to learn about illnesses, treatments, medication and everyday family health matters.

Unfortunately, the publishing of such information is not regulated and some sites are aimed at healthcare professionals and may be difficult to understand, while some sites may contain little information at all.

We recommend that you use internet search engines such as google or altavista.

Have a look at our links page and read through the guidelines below.

Guidelines for searching the Internet for healthcare information

A recent study recommended steps to check the quality of healthcare information (details are listed at the end). They are:

1. Check the source of the information

In the UK, websites provided by the NHS, Department of Health, Patient Advocacy groups, voluntary health and support groups, Universities and General Practices are reliable sources of information. If you access American or Australian sites, Government agencies, Universities, hospitals and doctor’s offices are considered reliable sources.

2. Check the purpose of the website

The site may be primarily for healthcare professionals, academics or patients – it is important to find one that covers issues relevant to you.

3. Check if the site is regularly updated

The site may not be regularly reviewed – if it does not, the information it provides may be out of date or treatments listed may be no longer in use.

4. Remember that all links have disclaimers

If a website has links to other useful organisations, remember that the site providing the links are not responsible for the site at the other end of the link. Look for a site that provides links to reliable sources (for example, those listed in 1).

Authors of the Study: Oermann, M. H. & Pasma, J., 2001, Evaluation by Consumers of Quality Care Information on the Internet, Journal of Nursing Care Quality, 2001: 15(3): 50-58, Aspen Publishers Inc.

Voluntary Services

The West Suffolk Borders Primary Care Group publishes a directory of charities, voluntary organisations, community and social groups in the area. If you wish to receive a copy of the directory please contact:

West Suffolk Borders Primary Care Group

Health Promotion Resources

Thingoe House, Cotton Lane

Bury St Edmunds

Suffolk IP33 1YJ

The PALS office has a copy of the directory and we are happy to provide you with addresses for Voluntary Services if you wish.

Library Services

West Suffolk Hospital Clinical Resource Centre & Library

The Library is open to private subscribers and members of the healthcare professions, click here for further information.

Public Libraries

Some Public Libraries are able to offer assistance but the services they provide vary between regions. Contact your local library to find out how they can help you.

National Electronic Library for Health (NELH)

The National electronic Library for Health (NeLH) is a national information library resource. Patients and the Public can access reliable, up to date information through www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk.

Access to Healthcare Professionals

If you visit a healthcare professional and find later you cannot remember or understand something related to your health, you should always be able to ask about it again.

·         If you are an inpatient in a hospital, ask your nurse or doctor to explain things to you again. They will not mind, and will be happy to explain.

·         If you are an outpatient in a hospital, you can call the PALS office and ask them to arrange a telephone appointment with a nurse or doctor who will be able to help you.

·         If your health professional is based in a doctor’s surgery, call the receptionist and explain your problem. If it is a common enquiry, they may be able to help you directly, or will pass you to someone who can.



What is PALS?
Patient & Public Involvement
Patient Information Leaflets
Your Guide to the NHS
How can I find more information?
Comments, Complaints & Concerns
Formal Complaints
ICAS - Independent Complaints Advocacy Service
Support Groups
West Suffolk Cancer Support Groups
Why information is collected about you
Accessing your health records
Confidential Information
Information about your discharge
NHS Funded Continuing Health Care
PPI Strategy & Framework
How the service is being used
Case Studies

Contact us by or telephone: 01284 712555

West Suffolk Hospitals NHS Trust

Last Modified: September 2001