Now you can rate doctors on the quality of their surgery car park
23:41 GMT, 6 June 2012
GP surgeries are being given marks out of ten based on their waiting times, how much trust patients have in their doctor and whether they can park outside.
For the first time all 8,000 practices in England will have a single score reflecting the overall experience of their patients.
The scores will be published on the NHS Choices website from today.
Patients will be able to see the scores of nearby GP clinics to help them choose the best surgery practices
Patients logging on to the site will be able to type in their postcode and look up the scores for the nearby GP practices to help them choose the best surgery with which to register.
The scores are based on the GP Patient Survey, a poll of half a million patients that takes place twice a year, and will be updated regularly.
Although those with the lowest scores won’t be fined, disgruntled patients may well decide to register with a better practice down the road.
As every surgery gets 65 a year from the Department of Health for each person on their books – regardless of how often they attend – they stand to lose out financially if patients move elsewhere.
Measures on which the marks are based include how many days patients typically wait for an appointment and how long they spend in the waiting room.
Doctors are set to go on strike later this month the first industrial action by the profession in almost 40 years over proposed changes to pensions
The scores will also reflect the level of trust and confidence patients have in the doctors and nurses and whether they think they are listened to.
Ministers claim that the move will encourage the worst performing surgeries to improve and drive up standards across the NHS.
Health Minister Lord Howe said: ‘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, chief executive of
the Patients Association, said: ‘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
will not resolve these issues overnight, but providing clear and easily
comparable data is certainly a step forward.’
But the British Medical Association, the doctors’ union, says ‘reducing’ practices to a single score out of ten will not give patients or GPs enough information about the quality of care.
A BMA spokesman said: ‘Using new technology to further improve patient feedback does need to be considered, but it must be done in a way that provides accurate information which GPs can act on.
‘Reducing surgeries to a score out of ten fails to allow patients to give detailed responses.
‘The rating would also fail to take into account the differing challenges that each GP practice may face, especially in terms of resources which are increasingly being squeezed by government cuts.’
The Government wants to give patients more choice about which surgery they register with, rather than having to go to the one nearest their home.
Earlier this year ministers launched a pilot scheme allowing patients to sign up to the practice closest to their workplace for more convenient appointments.
But it recently emerged that not one surgery in the trial areas of Manchester, Nottingham and London has begun offering the service even though it was meant to start in April.