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Raft of new data on GPs to be published

The Government will publish a raft of new data about GPs in a bid to rigorously police standards and allow patients to make informed choices about practices.

One of a host of new measures will require GPs to produce ‘quality accounts', including declarations on a series of safety and clinical outcomes.

The Patient Experience Survey, already linked to GP funding, will be expanded to include a far broader range of questions about the quality of care patients feel they receive.

Practices offering a good service – as judged on opening times, QOF scores, choice of appointments and services such as telephone consultations – will receive extra rewards, as will those that have ‘helpful and courteous' staff.

Lord Darzi also confirmed plans, revealed by Pulse, for patients to review GPs on the NHS Choices website. The site will also publish information on GP services and quality, possibly including survey and QOF data.

The Department of Health said its new regulator, the Care Quality Commission, would ‘in time' regulate all practices, but that it was also ‘currently supporting' RCGP plans for practice accreditation.

The Government's primary and community care strategy said the accreditation scheme would provide ‘rigorous assessment' with evaluation by teams of GPs, other professionals and ‘lay assessors'.

Dr Ruth Livingstone, clinical chair for the Darzi review in NHS East Midlands and a GP in Stamford, Lincolnshire, said she supported pay by survey results, but that GPs must be involved in setting parameters: ‘How do patients judge practices, especially if they have had no experience of others?'

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