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Choices site riddled with mistakes

The NHS Choices website, which allows patients to carry out their own online health checks, is riddled with mistakes, it was revealed this week.

GPs fear a catalogue of errors on the site will lead to confusion among their patients, who already may face extra anxiety because of the site.

A Pulse spot survey of 15 surgeries featured on the site, which launched last month, revealed two-thirds had mistakes – mostly relating to incorrect surgery opening hours and information on the availability of clinics. The site also contained names of long-retired GPs.

Dr Mary Hawking, a GP in Dunstable, Bedfordshire, said money spent on the site was wasted because the information was so inaccurate. 'There's a GP listed near me who retired last year. And the map showing my surgery has a factory nearby that was knocked down eight years ago.'

Dr Alan Ferris, a GP in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire, said: 'They claim my surgery closes on a Tuesday from 10.45am until 2pm. It was true, but in 1985.'

The BMA has already expressed concern about the website, which features a 'health profile calculator' allowing patients to find out the five conditions that are most likely to result in their hospitalisation, because of the fear it will increase the numbers of the so-called worried well attending surgeries.

A Department of Health spokesperson urged GPs to contact their PCT if information on the site was wrong.They added: 'We wrote to PCTs and asked them to check that the data was up to date.'

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