Doctors' surgeries to get scores

 

A new points scoring system will allow patients to assess how good their doctors' surgeries are.

The data, which will be published online, will be used to help GPs and the NHS make improvements to their healthcare.

More than 8,000 GP practices will be involved in the project in England, with each getting a score out of 10.

Questions will include how convenient it was to book an appointment, how long patients have to wait in reception, what the opening hours are like and whether the doctors and nurses are good at explaining things and listening.

Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patient's Association, said its helpline was seeing increasing numbers of complaints about GPs, and hoped the new system would reduce them.

She 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."

The new data will be available to patients on the NHS Choices website and will also allow patients to make quick and direct comparisons between different surgeries in their area and choose the right GP for their needs.

People will also be able to find a practice with experience of treating people with similar conditions such as diabetes, coronary heart disease or epilepsy.

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."

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