DoH seeks bidders to run patient survey for practices

The DoH is pushing forward with its plan for a single patient survey for practices in England, and possibly the whole of the UK, and has invited bids to run the operation.

This is despite the UK survey not being included in the contract package on which GPs are being consulted.

The tender, published on 27 December 2007, asks for an organisation to design and administer the survey for £24-36 million. It asks for a survey that could be used by all UK health departments.

The questionnaire 'will provide a wider, more holistic assessment of patient satisfaction', according to the advert, which appears in the Official Journal of the European Communities.

Patients' views on gaining access to services, quality of consultations with practice staff, quality of the practice environment and satisfaction with the outcomes of consultations will be assessed in the survey.

Invitations to tender are open until 30 January. The survey would be used for assessment in the 2008/9 financial year, with results needed for May 2009.

Following the recent breakdown in contract negotiations, the DoH has said that unless the GPC accepts its terms, it will impose contract changes.

A key part of this tougher contract is to abolish the 75 points surgeries earn for carrying out local patient surveys.

Worth £80 million nationally, the money from these points will be taken from GPs and given to primary care organisations to distribute to practices according to how well they perform on the survey.

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