GP anger over plan to put patient reviews online

Performance Allowing patients to comment about GPs on the NHS website could lead to malicious feedback.

GPs have reacted angrily to DoH plans to put patients' reviews of practices online by the summer.

Patients will be able to look up and leave feedback about their local surgery at www.nhs.uk.

The website, a recent merger of the online elements of NHS Choices and NHS Direct, will be run by Capita Ltd for the next three years at a cost of £60 million.

Mr Bradshaw told The Guardian that current quality scores were like 'results of an east European election under the Soviet regime' because nearly every practice scores 96, 97 or 98 per cent.

'I would never think of going on holiday without cross-referencing at least two guide books and using Trip Advisor,' he said. 'We need to do something similar for healthcare.'

The minister assured GPs that the software would be moderated so that no individuals were named.

But many GPs remain concerned that the website may just attract malicious or unfair comments.

Dr Nigel Watson, chief executive of Wessex LMC and a GP in Hampshire, said patient comments would not reflect the quality of a practice at all.

'I saw a drug addict this morning and I refused to prescribe methadone and diazepam. He went away very angry. That's the problem with just asking patients how well their needs were met.'

The GPC has pointed out that patients denied antibiotics for colds could respond with angry online feedback.

Dr Watson added that there were already more valid ways of getting feedback, like patient surveys. 'One person com- menting on a website that they couldn't get through on the phone is not the same as 300 people saying it on a patient survey.'

GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman said the website would be open to 'concerted activity' against GPs. 'To use Trip Advisor as a way to monitor performance is highly inappropriate.'

tom.ireland@haymarket.com

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