GP and doctors’ surgeries across England will be scored out of 10 by patients as a way of assessing the quality of the services they offer.
Patients will be able to report how happy they are with their local surgery, ranking it on a number of different factors.
These include how easy it is to book an appointment, how long the waiting time is, opening hours, and how good doctors and nurses are at explaining conditions and listening to patients.
In total, 8,000 GP surgeries will be ranked using the point scoring system, and the data will be published online, via the NHS Choices website.
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The thought behind the TripAdvisor-style system is that the results will encourage the NHS to improve the quality of doctors’ surgeries across the country, and minimise the number of patient complaints.
However, there are some concerns that the questionnaire will not take into account the different area of the country each surgery is located in.
But responding to the worries, the Department of Health (DoH) said location will be taken into account prior to the scores going live.
The initiative is part of a drive by the UK government to allow people to have more choice over their healthcare.
They will be able to compare the results of their GP surgery with others in their local area, and could choose to move if they feel they could get better care elsewhere.
Health Minister Lord Howe explained: 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. Patients will now be able to see exactly what the experience of being a patient at each GP surgery is really like.
“This data will not only help patients choose the right GP surgery for them but will also give GP surgeries and the NHS new information they can use to make fresh, innovative improvements.”
Katherine Murphy, CEO of the Patients Association, also commented on the move.
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.”
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