Research revealing varying death rates across the NHS could encourage many patients to consider private hospitals.
A study conducted by health information service Dr Foster Research concluded that around 7,400 deaths could have been avoided if mortality rates were standard across England's NHS hospitals.
The research, commissioned by the Daily Telegraph, also discovered that patients at the hospitals with the worst rate were twice as likely to die as patients at top hospitals.
Such varying treatment levels across the NHS could encourage more people to take advantage of the growing number of private healthcare alternatives on offer in order to ensure improved care.
Roger Taylor, the research director at Dr Foster Research, explained: "Now that people are being given greater choice over where they are treated, hospitals will need to reassure patients that they offer the highest standards of care."
The Royal Free Hospital NHS Trust in north London had the highest survival rate, with its mortality rate 26 per cent below expected levels.
However, the George Eliot Hospital NHS Trust in Nuneaton had the highest mortality rate - 43 per cent higher than expected rates.
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Treatment news : 25/04/2007