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Gold, incentives and meh

NHS Choices corrects thousands of surgery info errors

By Steve Nowottny

NHS Choices, the Government-run website set up to become a Tripadvisor-style guide to GP services, has had to correct inaccurate listings for more than 5,000 surgeries.

It is also relying on GPs at a further 3,500 surgeries to correct the errors themselves.

Pulse revealed last month that the website, which will allow patients to comment on and rate their practice from the summer, contained a substantial number of errors, based on a spot poll of some 200 practices.

But figures obtained by Pulse under the Freedom of Information Act show that the inaccuracies are in fact far worse than suspected. A massive data checking exercise conducted by the Information Centre last December found that 86% of records contained some errors, often listing the wrong opening hours.

81% of listings managed by GPs themselves were inaccurate, compared to 90% of those managed by PCTs or the Primary Care Information System.

NHS Choices had previously refused to reveal how many errors the data checking exercise had uncovered.

An NHS Choices spokesman said that listings managed by PCTs had now been updated centrally.

‘We are confident that the vast majority of information for GP practices on NHS Choices is correct,' he said.

‘The new extended opening hours times have now been amended on the NHS Choices website, except in the case of those practices who are responsible for editing their own data. We would strongly encourage those practices which have taken on this responsibility to make sure that their details have also been updated.'

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of Sefton LMC, said many of the ‘spectacular' number of errors often reflected inaccuracies on internal NHS databases.

‘While it was buried away in a deep, dark corner of the NHS bureaucracy there's no harm to anyone – it's only as the same data is populated on a publically available site that the massive inconsistencies emerge.'

Surgery hours

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