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Patients To Rate GPs Online

If you’ve ever bought anything from eBay or an Amazon seller, you’ll know one of the valued things is feedback on the transaction, a rating of the seller.

Now, in the UK, something similar is planned for family doctors, or general practitioners (GPs). Health minister Ben Bradshaw has told the NHS to have the software ready next year for people to be able to rate the competence and beside manner of their family doctors on the NHS Choice website.

Bradshaw told the Guardian:

"I would never think of going on holiday without cross-referencing at least two guide books and using Trip Advisor. We need to do something similar for the modern generation in healthcare."

"I can already learn a lot from the comments of people, both positive and negative, about a type of treatment or a hospital. We need to extend the service to cover GPs."

Since April, the NHS Choice site has let patients comment on hospitals. Of the first 6,500 comments, 24% were positive, 27% negative and Bradshaw hopes for something similar on GP ratings.

"On NHS Choices there is already some useful information about whether a practice offers extended hours and how it performs on the quality indicators. But the quality scores look like the results of an east European election under the Soviet regime. Nearly all get 96%, 97% or 98%. That doesn’t really give people an idea of whether the practice is better or worse than others in the area.”

"I want people to be able to read comments. It may be that people think the GP is fantastic and they can always get an appointment within 48 hours. Or they may have terrible experiences and think the receptionist is really rude."

He insisted the comments would not be censored, but would be moderated to exclude comments identifying individual doctors or staff members, and the comments could be anonymous. Perhaps understandably, the head of the British Medical Association’s GP committee has come out against the idea.

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