GP patient survey 'misses the point' and should go, says health secretary

Health secretary Andrew Lansley has suggested that the GP patient survey in its current form should be scrapped.

In his first speech since taking office, Mr Lansley said patient access surveys in general practice ‘miss the point of whether patients are doing well'.

Addressing patient representatives, doctors and the press at the Bromley by Bow medical centre in Bow, east London, on Tuesday Mr Lansley said ‘access is not as important as outcomes.'

Surveys are ‘too much like asking patients if they are grateful', Mr Lansley said.

Patients should be required to answer ‘more immediate, relevant questions', said Mr Lansley. He added that certain hospital questionnaires were more useful.

In a speech geared towards patient groups, Mr Lansley gave no more detail about how his plans to hand commissioning responsibility to GPs would work.

‘I will not today set out all aspects of [our] strategy. I don't want to begin talking about structures, funding or processes. I want to focus on our first priority - putting patients at the heart of what we do.'

Mr Lansley was ready, however, to outline details of a new policy to incentivise hospitals to look after patients for 30 days after they are treated, to reduce unnecessary GP and A&E attendances.

‘If a patient is readmitted in that time the hospital will not receive any additional payment for the treatment - [ensuring] they will be focus on successful initial treatment.'

Mr Lansley also pledged to make NHS data available to more external agencies to allow patients to ‘see who is doing well and who is doing badly'.

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