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Last Updated: Tuesday, 9 May 2006, 09:31 GMT 10:31 UK
Top journal launches health site
Best Treatments website
Website gives 'impartial' information
An easy-to-understand website providing information on dozens of diseases has been officially launched by the British Medical Journal.

The Best Treatments site is designed to give accurate, up-to-date and jargon-free information.

It has sections on men's, women's and children's health and lists of symptoms, treatments and questions for people to ask their doctor.

There is also a guide on how to weigh up the evidence from medical research.

The quality of information on the internet is improving all the time
Dr Trevor Roscoe

And a section on what to expect from operations and tests.

Website editor Cherill Hicks said: "Patients need comprehensive and reliable information in order to make decisions about their treatments.

"We have translated the information doctors use into a patient's version.

"It contains the latest, evidence-based research but in jargon-free terms."

No sponsorship

Ms Hicks said the site had not been sponsored, and so readers could be confident that they were reading impartial information.

"We are delighted to be able to provide patients with health information they can really rely on, to learn more about their conditions, and use in discussion with their doctors."

Dr Brian Fisher, a GP in Lewisham, south east London, said the evidence was that patients who were given more information and took part in shared decision-making with doctors had better outcomes and used the NHS less.

Dr Trefor Roscoe, a GP in Sheffield, said the site was well-balanced.

He said there was a risk that people who used the web could end up with "cyberchondria" if they paid too much heed to more sensationalist sites.

"We do find some people who have jumped to the wrong conclusion when they have looked at things on the net, but the quality of information on the internet is improving all the time."


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