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GPs go forth

Only one in five doctors aware of online patient feedback, reveals study

Only one in five doctors are aware of patient feedback they receive about them, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, looked at GPs', secondary care doctors' and nurses' experiences of patient feedback on websites including NHS Choices, Care Opinion and I Want Great Care.

Researchers at the University of Warwick surveyed 501 GPs and 500 secondary care doctors, alongside 749 nurses and midwives in the UK, finding that most respondents were careful about the use of online feedback due to assumptions that it is 'overwhelmingly negative' and create missed opportunities to enhance care.

They found that only 20% of GPs and doctors were aware of online feedback about themselves while 28% had knowledge of feedback about an episode of care they took part in. 

The findings also showed that the majority of GPs strongly believe that online feedback does not accurately reflect the quality of service they provide.

When asked whether patient feedback on their experiences of NHS care is useful to help improve services, only 6% of doctors 'strongly agreed' with this statement and 33% 'somewhat agreed'.

The study said: 'Despite enthusiasm from health policymakers, many health care professionals have little direct experience of online feedback, and rarely encourage it, as they view it as unrepresentative and with limited value for improving the quality of health services.'

Warwick associate professsor in primary care research Dr Helen Atherton said: 'We saw a lack of awareness from healthcare professionals of when feedback had been left about the care they delivered, whether as an individual or team. Overall, awareness and use by doctors is low. But we are seeing that doctors are much more negative about online feedback than nurses, and more so with GPs.

'There’s a real need that if NHS organisations are collecting this data that they need to be communicating it to frontline staff, because it’s pointless for the patients if their message isn’t getting through.'

Pulse previously reported that GPs will have to collect patient feedback every year - instead of every five years - to allow doctors to 'pick up any issues to address in a timely way', under new GMC proposals.

Readers' comments (8)

  • 'Only one in five doctors could give a monkeys about online patient feedback, reveals study'

    Fixed the headline for you.

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  • Spot on DM,usually moaners and the entitled with an axe to grind,Its the vast majority that are happy tat can't be bothered to feed back that keep coming back.Anyway if we had enough GPs, plenty of choice in a pay for service system wouldn't need this BS.Those that didn't provide a service would not earn a living.One can carry on dreaming of a life out side the crappy captitation based payment system we have at the moment.

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  • Never heard of that journal, and neither have most of my colleagues I bet. Anything with Policy in the title of a journal is just a waste of time. We dont have time to look at this kind of feedback, nor should we. We should always be focused on the patient in front of us, not the moans of those whom we declined diazepam, tramadol and lyrica too. If they dont like the service let them register elsewhere. You can't offer five star service in a time poor and starved for cash organisation, that is general practice. As usual the 'brains' at the top miss the obvious point.... a waste of time study that will change nothing....

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  • Why would anyone want to be trolled online? Feedback is the curse of the 21st century, holding individual workers personally accountable for corporate and political decisions. It has no place in medicine.

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  • Life is better if you ignore this stuff. Never look at it. Also don't do social media. You have more time.

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  • i got mentioned in one but realised they had the wrong doctor, wrong sex for a starter. its like any survey - depends who you ask will determine the results you will get.

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  • "Dr C was fu$%6ing s£$5 I've been told by the hozzie doc I need my Gaba up straightaway and didnt give me nufink been twice wiv my chest infection ended up waiting in A and E four hours for antibyotics what a To$$er......"

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  • Given the heavy expert opinion that patient feedback is NOT useful (61 vs 39%), NICE and GMC should take note of this and stop requiring patient feedback, as it is a waste of time and money, as proven by this research.

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