The Hospital Guide

“The Hospital Guide has consistently provoked debate and, more importantly, action to improve quality of care.” - Tim Straughan, Chief Executive, The NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care

What’s in the Hospital Guide 2013

We expect this year’s Hospital Guide to be published early December 2013 (exact timing to be confirmed); it will be the 12th edition in the series.

Dr Foster is committed to the publication of the guide as an independent assessment of NHS hospitals highlighting variations in care and also celebrating success within the NHS. Although our focus has traditionally been on the performance of NHS hospitals, this year we are also featuring some measures at CCG level. Following the recent NHS reforms and the emphasis on CCGs to ensure their services provide high quality and efficient care, we believe that now is a good time to extend our portfolio of metrics to cover CCGs.

We are committed to making the process of producing the Hospital Guide as transparent as possible and so we have produced a document which outlines our plans. There are versions of What’s in the Hospital Guide 2013 for both acute trusts and commissioners, highlighting those metrics of most relevance for each group and setting out a timeline for this work.

Key themes under consideration for inclusion in this year’s Hospital Guide include, as well as the usual measures of mortality, a focus on constituent components of the HSMR, including the palliative care coding rate, a range of indicators at hospital site (as well as NHS Trust) level and an update on some of our previous work looking at the impact of stroke networks. Among those indicators we are exploring at CCG level are avoidable admissions, PCI for AMI and selected elective procedures.

We are developing these metrics in partnership with the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London and in consultation with clinicians. Inevitably some will change and may be discarded as this research phase continues and we will keep you informed about this process.

The final metrics, data and methodologies will be shared in the autumn but if you have a question you would like to raise in the meantime, please contact us at

Hospital Guide 2012

The 2012 Dr Foster Hospital Guide containing performance data on every hospital trust in England is now available.

In addition to publishing traditional mortality indicators, last year’s Hospital Guide highlights information on the vital link between quality and efficiency.

Download the 2012 Hospital Guide.

See how your local hospital is performing

Check out our new interactive website, My Hospital Guide, to view performance of your local hospital and those across England. View mortality rates and efficiency metrics, then share and discuss your views on Facebook and Twitter, using #drfhg.

My Hospital Guide will be updated quarterly and will offer metrics and benchmarking data of trusts across England, analysed in a clear, concise way.

Visit My Hospital Guide

Trust of the Year

We are delighted to name Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust the 2012 Dr Foster Trust of the Year. It scored well on our efficiency index and has lower than expected rates on two of the four mortality measures (and no concerns on the other two measures).

Honourable mention was awarded to Frimley Park Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, both of which performed well on our measures.

Background of the Hospital Guide

Dr Foster was set up to empower patients and improve transparency in healthcare. The annual Hospital Guide publishes data for trusts across England for the benefit of consumers and healthcare professionals alike.

Now in its eleventh year, the Hospital Guide adheres strictly to its original mission: to publish an independent and authoritative analysis of the variations that exist in acute hospital care in a way that is meaningful for clinicians and managers and understandable to patients and the public.

The 2001 Hospital Guide was the first time that information was published on how well or badly a hospital was performing. Publishing this data and making it public was a revolutionary idea that has been widely credited with helping to raise standards of care.

Information is based on analysis of admissions data (by the Dr Foster Unit at Imperial College London) and a Department of Health-approved questionnaire which 99 per cent of NHS trusts completed in 2012.

“Dr Foster’s 11th annual Hospital Guide…is good news for the NHS. For patients, because it allows them to see how well local hospitals are doing. For clinicians, because it illuminates their performances, inspiring them to keep up the good work if they are doing well, or improve if something is going wrong. And for society, because better care means fewer readmissions, freeing up time and money to treat more people so the NHS can meet the increasing demands of an ageing population.”
– Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, December 2012

Previous editions

The last five editions of the Hospital Guide are available for download in PDF format:

View the methodology documents for the latest Hospital Guide for acute trusts

View the methodology documents for the latest Hospital Guide for commissioners

Earlier documents