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Reheated NHS Choices plan repeats on ministers

Regular readers of Pulse who saw the Guardian’s NHS Choices splash between Christmas and New Year ('Patients to rate and review their GPs on NHS website ') could have been forgiven for thinking it was more than just the turkey which was repeating on them.

By Steve Nowottny

Regular readers of Pulse who saw the Guardian's NHS Choices splash between Christmas and New Year ('Patients to rate and review their GPs on NHS website ') could have been forgiven for thinking it was more than just the turkey which was repeating on them.

The news that the Government is planning to allow patients to rate their GP practice (though not, at least yet, individual GPs) via a website was first reported in Pulse as long ago as June 2007. In June 2008, we reported again on the Government's plans, with more detail and the fact it was to start in 2009.

But while the Guardian's news story may have been reheated leftovers, Marina Hyde's comment piece in last Saturday's Guardian had a distinctly New Year flavour to it.

Not only does she rubbish the idea of NHS Choices giving power to the patients (‘it is a desperately penny-pinching sleight of hand, designed to give people the illusion of power in the NHS'), and damn health minister Ben Bradshaw as ‘ideologically bankrupt', she delicately skewers the whole idea with the following put-down: ‘In fact, if you had to distill New Labour into a single utterance, perhaps it might be this: a healthcare system that was once the envy of the world now has much to learn from the manner in which people select boutique hotels.'

Reannouncing the NHS Choices plan in the quiet period between Christmas and New Year must have seemed like an easy win. But with columnists - in the Guardian no less - giving that kind of withering judgement, it might end up being more of an own goal.

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