Doctors condemn plans for 'e-bay' style GP surgery ratings
By Gareth Iacobucci
The BMA has attacked Government proposals to allow patients comment on GP practices on the NHS Choices website.
The plans, first revealed by Pulse – were announced this morning by prime minister Gordon Brown as part of a raft of patient-centred public service reforms.
The report, entitled: ‘Working Together – Public Services on your Side' confirms plans to allow patients the same kind of forum to post feedback as they have with consumer services such as e-bay and Trip Advisor.
The Government hopes the move will foster more competition between practices.
But Dr Hamish Meldrum, BMA chairman of council, said the ‘consumerist approach' was being applied to the NHS too crudely.
Dr Meldrum said: ‘The consumerist approach being advocated by the Government is not well-suited to the NHS. Patients are not supermarket customers, and doctors are doing more than providing an easily rated commodity.
‘Healthcare is complex – it's about partnership. The suggestion that your treatment in the NHS can be as easily rated as a stay in a hotel is simplistic. There is a risk that this exercise could reduce NHS care to a meaningless popularity contest, encouraging perverse behaviours and an emphasis on the superficial.'
However, Prime Pinister Gordon Brown insisted GPs should be accountable in the same way as other services.
He said: ‘People take it for granted that they will access other people's reviews and ratings before buying something on e-bay or Amazon, and yet we do not yet have systematic access to other people's experiences when choosing a GP practice or nursery.
‘We have clearly got the balance wrong when online businesses have higher standards of transparency than the public services we pay for and support.'