Patients to be asked to rate their doctors

People are to be routinely asked to rate the quality of treatment they receive from their family doctor under an initiative to drive up care standards across the National Health Service.

A new "friends and family" test in which patients and staff are asked whether they would recommend the service to a loved-one is being launched in hospitals in April.

But David Cameron last night announced he wants the scheme to be extended across the health service, including GPs, district nursing and community hospitals.

His move follows a public inquiry into failings that led to the unnecessary deaths of hundreds of patients at Mid-Staffordshire Hospitals over four years. An inquest also heard last year that a patient who died from dehydration at St George's Hospital, south London, was so desperate for water he dialled 999 for help. Ministers hope that publishing the "friends and family" results will help to identify the best and worst performers in patients' eyes. The assessments are set to be extended to include family doctors by 2015, raising the prospect of league tables.