NHS Choices is not going away, so you might as well engage with it
In response to your story, it is disappointing that Dr Nagpaul feels it would be better if the GP practice feedback service on NHS Choices ‘was not there'.
The feedback service was launched following extensive consultation with GPs which clarified the strict moderation processes which underpin the service and GPs' ability to reply to every comment or immediately report unsuitable feedback. Negotiators accepted that these provided strong safeguards. The fact that GPs are reporting comments to NHS Choices, I believe, demonstrates the service is working.
I would also add that:
- there is more positive than negative feedback. Where feedback is negative, it tends to focus on practices' poor customer service, rather than GPs' consultation and clinical skills.
- GPs can ensure their feedback is representative by promoting the service. Those practices which have done so, in consultations, in their waiting room or via patient participation groups, have received more comments from a wider cross-section of patients. I'm actively promoting the service in my practice because I value feedback from patients. NHS Choices also provides downloadable posters to help other practices to do this.
- The reply facility enables practices to set out in detail their policies, address any issues and show themselves as open and welcoming of patients' views.
Around 750,000 people use NHS Choices each month to find information about GP practices and make a choice of which practice to register with. Patient feedback gives practices an opportunity to differentiate themselves and visibly demonstrate the quality of service they offer.
- Organisations that are genuinely interested in providing a high quality service surely want to hear the views of their customers as it helps them to continue to improve. These days people demand the right to review and feedback. Those that expect it to go away, simply because they don't like it, are sticking their heads in the sand.
Dr Manpreet Pujara, GP national clinical lead, Department of Health Informatics Directorate