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GPs can learn from Starbucks model, says commissioning leader

GPs should learn from high-street coffee shops by ‘publicly and permanently’ showing that feedback is welcomed on ‘any and every aspect’ of their patients’ experience, the director of policy at the NHS Confederation has said.

Dr Johnny Marshall, a GP in Buckinghamshire, wrote on the BBC website that GP practices could learn from Starbucks and others about customer care and the value of customer satisfaction.

He said: ‘In my opinion, GPs offer patients the chance to make far more important decisions about their lives than whether to buy a biscuit to accompany their coffee.

‘Patients who raise concerns are a very good thing, they empower themselves, they improve the care they receive, and they drive up standards of clinical care and patient experience across the service,” he wrote.

Dr Marshall said it is the job of GPs to describe to patients what high quality care looks like and to encourage them to question their doctors if the care they receive falls short.

He said that to make a patient’s ‘customer experience’ exceptional, they each need to understand the full range of possibilities, including their advantages and their risks, and then to receive support to help them decide the best option for their circumstances.

‘This requires GPs and other healthcare professionals to better understand what the patient wants, in the same way that salespeople seek to understand what you are looking for from a new outfit, an electronic device or a present for a loved one.

‘Then they can best assist you in making an informed decision about the options available to you to achieve what you really want.’

Readers' comments (19)

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  • What if they don't want the NHS dismantled by the Tories will Johnny Marshall be listening to that?

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  • I bet he works about 1 session per week and spends all his day in meetings. Patients are not customers and we also don't charge them at the point of access. Therefore to follow any model Starbucks have is stupid, before we even get to their reputation on tax.

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  • More customers in Starbucks = more cash
    They like many have said have a great moral
    Compass on Tax!
    We on the other hand are asked to see more and more
    Patients more often w/o more resources
    Can you see a difference in incentives ?
    so if seeing more patients does not generate income
    How can you expand the service to meet damand in your cost envelope?
    Can not compare the two models

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  • everyone suggesting we can learn from supermarkets and coffee shops can just starbuck off to the private sector

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  • Ridiculous- the NHS is a need based service not a want based consumer service lets get things right.

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  • the scary thing is that these people are seen as representatives of the profession. they are so disconnected from us. I find it all rather orwellian.

    -anonymous salaried!

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  • What a stupid thing to say! Johnny should know better - like so many doctors who become politicians, it appears his head has been turned in order to satisfy his masters.

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