Current GP patient survey 'could be scrapped'

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

Mr Lansley: real-time feedback (Photograph: Christie Hospital)
Mr Lansley: real-time feedback (Photograph: Christie Hospital)

In his first speech since taking office, Mr Lansley said GP access surveys 'miss the point of whether patients are doing well'. Addressing patient groups at the Bromley-by-Bow medical centre in east London last week, Mr Lansley said access was 'not as important as outcomes'.

Patients should be able 'to provide feedback in real time, reflecting the experience of their care', he said. He admitted some clinicians would 'regard this with alarm'.

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey warned there was no evidence supporting the use of 'patient reported outcome' surveys in primary care.

Mr Lansley gave no further detail on plans to hand commissioning responsibility to GPs.

'I want to focus on our first priority - putting patients at the heart of what we do,' he said.

NHS Alliance contract lead Dr David Jenner said the DoH may 'water down' GP commissioning plans.

Mr Lansley also set out plans to cut unnecessary GP and A&E attendances. If patients are readmitted within 30 days of treatment, hospitals 'will not receive any additional payment', he said. The BMA warned this may lead to patients being held in hospital for longer than is necessary.

Dr Vautrey said GPs were unlikely to notice a drop in workload but 'for some patients it could have a major impact on the way GPs are drawn into their care unnecessarily'.

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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