HealthFriends helps you meet and stay in touch with others who have similar health-related interests.

From patients, families, health professionals and anyone interested in health-related issues, HealthFriends enables you to meet others and exchange ideas and experiences.

How is HealthFriends organised?

Community hubs are the heart of HealthFriends and it is here where users can have discussions and are most likely to find friends.

Community hubs are specific areas of interest - they cover physical conditions, mental health, surgical operations and cosmetic surgery as well as more general topics such as fitness, sports and healthy living. By keeping news, discussions and members together in a specific community hub, you have lots of information at your fingertips and can easily find other people to talk to.

When you join a community, news and discussions will be streamed to your personal homepage.

Getting started

We recommend you start by finding communities that interest you - you can use the links from the 'Our communities' menu at the top of the screen or you can just search by keyword.

Once you've joined a community (and you can join as many as you like), you can have discussions, share experiences and find friends (although you will need to create an account first).

Anyone can access and read the discussions on HealthFriends. However, to contribute to existing discussions, or to start a new discussion, you will need to sign up to be a registered HealthFriends member.

Creating a HealthFriends account

To start a discussion or private conversation, you need to sign up to HealthFriends (it's free) and choose a username. This is the name by which you will be identified on HealthFriends, within discussions, as a member of communities and for other users searching for friends. We use usernames, rather than real names, to protect your privacy.

As part of the sign-up process, we ask for some optional information, such as your real name, gender, location and date of birth. This optional information helps other HealthFriends' users to find you and to talk to you. Your date of birth and location are used in searches to help users find friends, but your date of birth will never be displayed.

The sign-up process also includes the option to add some information about yourself. You can share your 'health journey' with other HealthFriends users. Many people who have gone through a course of treatment like to share their experience to help others. This information will be shown to other users when they view your profile.

Contributing to discussions

There are a number of ways to find existing discussions on HealthFriends – latest discussions from across the site are shown on the HealthFriends home page and from the 'All discussions' link in the top navigation. Alternatively you can search through the community hubs for a specific condition or operation you want to discuss.

To add a reply to an existing discussion, click the discussion. Type your message into the reply box and click 'post reply'.

To start a new discussion, click the Discussions tile within a community, add a heading, being as descriptive as possible (so people can tell at a glance what you are posting about) and then add your message. To post, click the 'start discussion' button.

When you start (or reply to) a discussion, you'll automatically become a member of the community and HealthFriends will alert you to new activity in the discussion thread.

Finding friends

Finding and interacting with other HealthFriends is a key benefit of the site.

There are a number of ways in which you can find and make friends - if you read someone's post in a discussion and you'd like to make friends with them, click their Avatar or username where you will be able to read their profile and find out more about them. You can then start a private conversation with them. Once a reply has been sent you'll automatically become friends.

Join communities

When you join a community, discussions, news and alerts will be streamed automatically to your personal homepage, enabling you to stay updated with all activity within your communities without having to revisit each community separately.

There are two ways to join a community – either publicly or privately. If you choose to join publicly, other HealthFriends will be able to see the community you have joined by clicking on your Profile. To join publicly, click the 'Join this community' button when you've found a community of interest.

If there is a community you would like to join but don't want to disclose this publicly you can opt to 'Join in private'.

To leave a community, select the 'Leave this community' option.

I still don't know how to use HealthFriends - what should I do?

Email us at and we will get back to you very soon.