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Relaunch for NHS Choices website

By Steve Nowottny

A relaunch of the NHS Choices website will help patients rate and choose between GP surgeries, a leading Department of Health official said this week.

The relaunch, to take place at the end of this month, will allow patients to see the results of the Patient Experience Survey and QOF scores for each practice, alongside opening hours and other patient information.

But after complaints from the BMA, the department has dropped plans to include the results of the Patient Experience Survey's controversial question on patient satisfaction with opening hours.

Speaking exclusively to Pulse, the department chief information officer, Beverley Bryant, said patients would also be allowed to give feedback on GPs, although not immediately.

‘I do envisage we're going to do it, but just not yet,' she said. ‘What I don't want to do is upset a whole community of GPs by putting something up that they're not happy with.'

Ms Bryant also admitted much of the information currently on the website, such as practice opening hours, is inaccurate.

A Pulse spot-check survey in July found up to two-thirds of the entries contained mistakes.

NHS Choices denied at the time that the site was riddled with errors but now the organisation admits that much of the information regarding GP practices is years out of date.

Ms Bryant said that later this month GPs would be given the opportunity to update their own data ahead of the relaunch. The BMA is writing this week to all GPs with further information.

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair, said the revamped website represented an ‘opportunity' for GPs.

‘Many practices don't have their own websites,' he said. ‘This is going to be a site that's available for all practices and patients will be encouraged to look at it, so it's in practices' own interests to ensure information is correct.'

Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey, GPC deputy chair

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