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NHS website scores GP surgeries out of ten

New data will help patients chose a surgery and drive up GP performance

Mark Gould

Thursday, 07 June 2012

Patient experience data on over 8,000 GP practices across England will go on line today on the NHS Choices website to help patients chose the appropriate surgery.

Information will include patient feedback on how convenient it is to get an appointment, length of time you have to spend waiting in reception, opening hours and whether the doctors and nurses are good at explaining things and listening to patients.

Each GP surgery will get a score out of ten, which ministers say will help patients to choose which surgery to register with as well as help drive up standards within the profession.

The NHS Choices website presents the data in a way which allows patients to make quick and direct comparisons between different GP practices in their area and choose the right GP for their needs. People will also be able to find a GP surgery with experience of treating people with similar conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease and epilepsy.

This data will be based on patients’ responses to the GP Patient Survey. The new data is in addition to 260 clinical measures of GP surgeries that were first published on the NHS Information Centre and Department of Health websites last year.

As well as the patient experience measure, new data and an analytical tool will be published on the NHS Information Centre website to support GPs and the NHS to make improvements. This includes data on how many patients from each GP surgery didn’t attend their first outpatient appointment at hospital, and delivery of pneumonia vaccinations for at risk patients like those over 65 or who have long-term chronic conditions.

Health Minister Lord Howe said: “As we set out in our Information Strategy, we want to make it easier for patients to find the best NHS care for them.

“Giving patients more information about their local NHS is a big part of our commitment to transparency and using data to drive improvements.

“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 Patient’s Association said:

“We welcome these proposals, because they will result in more information being available for patients when they are making a choice about which GP to register with. They will also enable patients to compare the performance of their own GP with others.

“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 experience. These changes will not resolve these issues overnight, but providing clear and easily comparable data is certainly a step forward.”

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