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Patients to score GP surgeries online


A new points scoring system will allow patients to rate doctors’ surgeries.

The data, which will be published online, will be used to help GPs and the NHS make improvements to their healthcare.

More than 8,000 GP practices will be involved in the project in England, with each getting a score out of 10.

Questions will include how convenient it was to book an appointment, how long patients have to wait in reception, what the opening hours are like and whether the doctors and nurses are good at explaining things and listening.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patient’s Association, said its helpline was seeing increasing numbers of complaints about GPs, and hoped the new system would reduce them.

She said: “We welcome these proposals, because they will result in more information being available for patients when they are making a choice about which GP to register with.

“They will also enable patients to compare the performance of their own GP with others.

“Our helpline is seeing a trend of increasing complaints about GPs, covering a number of areas, including difficulties obtaining an appointment, complaints about the behaviour of the reception staff and other factors that affect their overall experience.

“These changes will not resolve these issues overnight, but providing clear and easily comparable data is certainly a step forward.”

The new data will be available to patients on the NHS Choices website and will also allow patients to make quick and direct comparisons between different surgeries in their area and choose the right GP for their needs.

People will also be able to find a practice with experience of treating people with similar conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease or epilepsy.

Health minister Lord Howe said: “As we set out in our Information Strategy, we want to make it easier for patients to find the best NHS care for them.

“Giving patients more information about their local NHS is a big part of our commitment to transparency and using data to drive improvements.

“Opening up this data is another step forward in giving people more choice.”



Readers' comments (4)

  • Toby Ornottoby

    According to The Daily Fail...

    “GP surgeries are being given marks out of ten based on their waiting times, how much trust patients have in their doctor and whether they can park outside. For the first time all 8,000 practices in England will have a single score reflecting the overall experience of their patients. The scores will be published on the NHS Choices website from today.”

    Unlike The Daily Wail, words fail me. Car parking facilities are a factor? Seriously? When I lived in central London I had an excellent GP whose surgery had zero parking facilities. The facility had superb nurses and receptionists. Did I care if I sometimes had to wait beyond my alloted appointment time? Not a bit, because I knew the patients in front of me were actually receiving proper attention from the GP and not just the perfunctory allotted 15 minute consultation. I knew the same would apply to me.

    I was (and still am) glad I can get appropriate medical attention without having to pay for extortionate private medical insurance. Go and live in America for a while, try and see a doctor and you will return with a new appreciation for the NHS.

    The BMA itself succinctly said “Using new technology to further improve patient feedback does need to be considered, but it must be done in a way that provides accurate information which GPs can act on. Reducing surgeries to a score out of ten fails to allow patients to give detailed responses. The rating would also fail to take into account the differing challenges that each GP practice may face, especially in terms of resources which are increasingly being squeezed by government cuts.”

    How much sillier can things get for the NHS? Alas I feel that the more the current coalition thrashes around with no real sense of direction they will continue to grasp at straws and come up with artificial, target based, publicity gimmicks like this in order to “be seen to be doing something.”

    The money allocated for this scheme could be better spent on front line medical services and not on clap-trap like this. My health should be dependent on the skill of my doctor, not my ability to park outside the surgery.

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  • "“be seen to be doing something.”"

    is this how the superficial and insincere political 'we' gain popularity and votes? are the public really so gullible.They are just trying to steer attention away from the professional outcry against their NHS reforms by trying to offer a few carrots, which the fail to notice are totally inedible, to pacify everybody.

    Until they listen to the experts who who understand the underlying principles and finer points of expert professional care instead of continuing to apply American General Management Principles designed for the processing of inanimate goods (and the American public), which have already proved a failure, resources will continue to be wasted and healthcare services deteriorate.

    It is the job of politicians to do politics and not mix themselves up in or tell the professionals how to deliver healthcare. These latter have their hands tied behind their backs and are hampered from using their expertise through years of costly training and experience to fulfil the needs of their patients and deliver to them the best possible care and in some cases even adequate care.

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  • I overheard a conversation between two people discussing the merrits of their respective GP's and it was basically one stating that she loved her GP as he handed out antibiotics, pain killers and sleeping tablets like they were candy. The other said oh I never get anything from my GP, it's like he pays for them himself. He always wants to find a real reason for giving me anything he's useless.

    So here we have it, if a GP pops pills out he's a wonderful doctor. But the Doctor that wants to investigate properly to see what the clinical problem is is not a good Doctor. I can see how they'd rate their surgery. Yet another useful way of wasting money by the government!

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  • Anonymous | 11-Jun-2012 9:33 am

    It is all so subjective and emotionally driven, but maybe as far as some patients are concerned, this is what it is all about but not helpful at all those with serious concerns and illnesses.

    Why not spend the money on essential services instead otherwise nothing will ever improve. Furthermore it is rather treating the public as well as professionals as children, or worse as complete idiots.

    very little is understood in the political arena of any medical/nursing care which is not tacit and measurable and can have a price tag added to it.

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