8. June 2012 16:14
Patient feedback on GP practices, including an overall score out of 10, is now available on the NHS Choices website.
The DH claims the new online feature will empower patients both to express their views and to choose the best GP practice for their needs.
The BMA has criticised the new system for reducing multi-factorial patient experience to a single metric.
Patient feedback has been used to evaluate more than 8000 GP practices, based on several factors including ease of securing appointments, time spent waiting in reception, opening hours and communication skills of doctors and practice nurses.
The patient experience data have been gathered from responses to the annual GP Patient Survey.
Health Minister Earl Howe said: “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.”
A BMA spokesman commented that while enabling patients to give feedback on primary care was a good idea, the new approach failed to elicit “detailed responses” or to “take into account the differing challenges that each GP practice may face”.
Richard Vautrey, Deputy Chair of the BMA’s GP Committee, noted that the metric did not take proper account of patient priorities: “It is the quality of the consultation that is of most concern to patients.”