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Independents' Day

Practices' CQC risk assessments to form core of 'Trip Advisor-style' ratings website

GP practices’ risk assessments will be published on the Government’s Trip Advisor-style website unveiled yesterday, which health secretary Jeremy Hunt said will allow ‘patients to compare the performance of their local GP surgery’.

The MyNHS website, which has been trailed by Mr Hunt over the past year, was launched yesterday for secondary care providers, and will be launched for GP practices in December, with their risk assessments – unveiled this week by the CQC – providing much of the data that patients can use to compare practices.

GP leaders said having the ‘bright glare of publicity’ on a website would not help practices that are already struggling.

The risk assessments take data from the GP patient survey and QOF indicators to determine whether practices are ‘risky’, with the regulator giving one in six practices the lowest score of one to two, out of six bands.

The GPC denounced the assessments, saying that they were based on data that are ‘simplistic’ and ‘out of GPs’ control’.

However, at the launch of the MyNHS website, the DH said that these risk assessments would be put on the website until practices receive their inspections ratings.

Mr Hunt said: ‘It is a world-first where patients and professionals alike can compare the performance of their local hospital, their local GP surgery, their care services and their local authority, in an easy-to-understand table with regularly updated information.

‘How good is the diabetes care at my local surgery? MyNHS will tell you. What do patients say about the food at my local hospital? It’s there on MyNHS. How good is my local council’s smoking cessation programme? Look on MyNHS. How good is my hip surgeon? MyNHS will be your guide.

‘MyNHS will be the first time any major health economy has gathered such a wide range of critical performance indicators together in a way that will both inform the public and help professionals to improve care by reducing variation. No targets, no sanctions – just information that helps clinicians and managers do what they want to do anyway: improve the safety and care with which they look after NHS patients.’

Mr Hunt also said that patients’ right to the comparison tool would be written into the NHS Constitution.

But Dr Peter Swinyard, chair of the Family Doctor Association, said: ‘I honestly don’t think it will drive up standards, because what motivates most GPs is doing the best that they can for their patients.

‘And I think that the bright glare of publicity, or having everything all over a website, doesn’t really help those practices where the reason they might have less patients having this or that service may be because the amount of funding that practice gets is so miniscule by comparison with other practices doing better, that they can’t have the hot and cold running nurses on tap that mean you can provide these services well.’

The tool for secondary care providers will include an overall ‘traffic light’ rating based on different factors, but, as Pulse revealed earlier this year, this will not be the case for practices.

However, a DH spokesperson told Pulse that practices would be given colour ratings of green for no risk, blue for some risk and red for high risk against each of the 38 indicators used for the risk assessment, as well as their overall risk rating.

The spokesperson added: ‘The colour ratings will be on the indicators, not on the overall practice, and the CQC bandings will go up [on the website] until the GP practice has been inspected.’

The CQC announced earlier this week that it had rated the first two GP practices to go through the complete process as ‘outstanding’.


Readers' comments (11)

  • Surgeries struggling to recruit will be further disadvantaged .They will then collapse and the ripple effect will drag down neighbouring practices as they try to manage the additional work . Who will join an overworked practice ? This spotlight approach will only work if there is a plentiful workforce otherwise it will hasten the implosion. Is this why the government is doing it ?

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  • Just wait until they get all the stuff from and start adding that!

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  • any way we can refer JH on a 2 week rule as a malignancy risk?

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  • This guy is a simpleton.....

    Why doesn't he leave the Tory Party and get a job as a Daily Mail reporter.

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  • So factors outside the control of GPs and the misuse of incomplete and voluntary QOF data are used to ascribe a 'risk'score to practices ahead of actual inspections and then the government spreads the lie on their
    public website??
    This is not going to tell any patient 'how good their GP is' but will cause distress & damage to both patients and practices and is a disgraceful betrayal of hard working primary care teams across the country.
    I now believe those who have been warning that there is an agenda to engineer the collapse of general practice in this country

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  • If only he'd concentrate resources on providing and supporting quality medical care rather than achieving quantity of (dubious) information. It might not grab headlines and be a "world-first" but it would be more worthwhile.

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  • James Naughtie was right.

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  • Vinci Ho

    Typical Agent H,
    so predictable.....

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  • Apart from widening the recruitment gap, this will do little of value. We've one area we are rated down on as a practice - the proportion of patients in care homes with diagnosed dementia - the reason why? We have no care homes.

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  • in what other country is there this malignant box ticking deranged ignorant and out of control obsessional bullying incompetent structure? NOT ONE.
    worse still much is based on lies and slanderous untruths and ZERO evidence.
    this wasteful edifice of utter stupidity is beginning to cause a lot of harm to patient care by wasting clinician time ,wasting nhs public money and damaging morale further so powerfully encouraging early retirement emigration and lack of recruitment.
    even worse it is is but a smokescreen to hide the national scandal of ten to fifteen billion wasted annually on the insane internal market which has bred penpushers like rabbits and also caused damaging fragmentation.
    please though colleagues it is now truly time for us to rise up in incandescent anger and be balloted for strike action..not to increase our pay but to take a moral stand against this evil and scandalous waste of the public's taxes done with no mandate at all from the majority of the public who are as utterly furious at the misguided serial political interference in this country's finest ,most noble institution.

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