Other Resources for Patients
How can I find out more about my condition or the surgery I have been recommended?
The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) is not able to give medical advice to individual patients. There are various sources of information about conditions and possible treatments available from the below sources. Contacting NHS 111 or your GP if you are concerned and seeking help is a good first step.
Resources for patients
The RCS has produced information for patients on recovering from surgery.We have set out below links to other websites that might provide further information. They are mainly UK websites and offer information on conditions, treatments and services.
Information produced by the NHS on health conditions, treatments, the NHS and your rights as a patient.
- NHS Choices is the main NHS website about health and healthcare, containing information on: health services near you; a guide to the science behind health stories in the news; living well and adopting a healthy lifestyle; a health A-Z explaining different health conditions; and online clinics with opportunities to get expert advice.
- You should call NHS 111 if you need medical help but it is not a 999 emergency.
- National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for developing national guidance, standards and information on providing high-quality health and social care, and preventing and treating ill health. NICE guidance helps health, public health and social care professionals deliver the best possible care based on the best available evidence.
Health information websites
These sites group together information relating to particular healthcare topics and provide links to other websites, organisations, online publications, and patient information.
- Great Ormond Street Hospital contains information for parents, children, teenagers and health professionals. It includes patients' stories as well as advice and information on various topics.
- Medline Plus is run by the National Library of Medicine in the United States. It provides extensive information on specific diseases and conditions.
- Best Health information comes from the British Medical Journal's worldwide survey of the best, most up-to-date medical research.
- Social Care Online contains information for carers and users of social care, including guidelines, publications, legislation and links.
- GOV.UK provides government and public service information, including information for carers, disabled people, parents, young people, over-50s, and a health and wellbeing section.
Support and self-help groups
There are hundreds of support and self-help groups that are actively involved in supporting patients with particular conditions and promoting their interests. The internet can be a good source of information about support groups. You can find contact details for different organisations at:
The organisations below focus on more general aspects of health and healthcare. You may also find them helpful.
- The Patients Association is an independent charity working for the involvement of patients in decisions about health. It welcomes enquiries from patients looking for advice or information on healthcare matters and medical conditions, as well as those who are concerned about the standard of health care they are receiving. Helpline: 0845 608 4455, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Carers Trust is a UK charity that provides information, support and practical help to carers.
- Contact a Family is a UK charity supporting families who care for children with disabilities or special needs. They are also a source of information about rare disorders and are able to assist affected adults as well as children.
Patient advice and involvement
These organisations provide information on where patients can go for further advice and support, plus how patients can get more involved in health and healthcare.
- Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) are local organisations available at every NHS Trust, providing information on: where patients can go for advice and support; how to access relevant financial support; the NHS complaints procedure; and how the NHS uses patient information.
- Healthwatch has been set up as an independent consumer champion for health and social care in England. Local Healthwatch organisations began work in April 2013, taking over from Local Involvement Networks (LINks), to help shape services. If you want to talk about your experience of health or social care, contact your Local Healthwatch.
- Community Health Councils (CHCs) in Wales provide the independent voice across health services and work to improve the quality of local health services in Wales.
Regulation and safety
These websites provide information about healthcare practitioners' qualifications and registration:
Healthcare profession regulatory bodies
General Medical Council (GMC) The GMC is the body responsible for licensing and regulating doctors, with legal powers to protect patients by maintaining the professional standards the public have a right to expect. It promotes good medical practice; keeps an up-to-date register of all doctors qualified to practise in the UK; promotes high standards of medical education; and deals with cases in which a doctor's fitness to practice is in doubt.
The GMC maintains the List of Registered Medical Practitioners, an online database (updated daily) of all doctors registered to practise in the UK. The register can be freely searched online. Please note that the GMC no longer produces a paper copy of the Medical Register, the List of Registered Medical Practitioners' predecessor.
The GMC website contains information about the other health and social care regulators.
You can also download a leaflet about ‘Who regulates health and social care professionals?'
General Dental Council (GDC) The General Dental Council is the regulatory body for the dental profession. It protects the public by means of legal powers similar to those of the GMC, maintaining a register of dentists, dental hygienists or therapists qualified to practise in the UK, and has legal powers relating to dental education and professional conduct.. The GDC's registers (the Dentists Register, Roll of Dental Auxiliaries, and the 13 Specialist Lists) are also freely available online.
Other useful websites for patients
- The British Medical Association's Patient Liaison Group has produced a leaflet about how to improve the hospital discharge process, available under the 'PLG resources' tab.
- NHS Choices Behind the Headlines explains the science behind health stories that are reported in the news.
- RCS information on medical and health libraries.
Organisations and websites listed on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the College.