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Practices posting false reviews on NHS Choices, says Field

Failing GP practices are creating false accounts and posting positive reviews on NHS Choices before their CQC inspection, according to the chief inspector of primary care.

Professor Steve Field told the audience of a keynote debate at the Best Practice conference in Birmingham on Wednesday that whistleblowers had alerted the CQC to the problem.

He added that subsequent inspections often conclude the practice ‘probably shouldn’t exist’.

Professor Field was addressing the issue of NHS Choices after announcing that the CQC would be publishing its ‘intelligent monitoring’ data on GP practices on its own website and on NHS Choices.

Pulse reported earlier this month that the intelligent monitoring will include details of GP prescribing rates, and will be used to identify which practices should be prioritised for inspection.

Professor Field said that NHS Choices was often not useful for the CQC.

He told delegates: ‘The feedback from the patients on NHS Choices is not good at the moment. We know, through whistleblowers, that some GPs have been filling in lots of things that say the practice is good, at the time when we see the practice and it probably shouldn’t exist.

‘We looked at one this morning, it wasn’t a good practice but there were great, outstanding comments, and then “this is the worst thing we’ve ever been to”. I don’t like that at all, but we need to understand that patient feedback is really important and a lot of this data is based on the patient survey, as it is at the moment.

‘There’s a very big group of practices in this region, who are starting to use an app to get real-time patient feedback. So the reality is, whatever you do there’s going to be feedback.’

When Pulse asked about the incidences of whistleblowing, Professor Field explained there was a single incident ‘six months ago’ but would not confirm the nature of any subsequent action by the CQC.

Readers' comments (19)

  • And some vindictive patients who didn't tget the enti-bio they demanded will post bad comments.

    Perhaps Prof Field and his ilk ought to recognise that reviews and Friends and Family Test are utter dung pile ideas

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  • The issue with "malicious comments" on NHS choices must also be addressed. Sometimes comments made are completely disconnected with reality, slanderous/libellous and insulting and even moderator with a brain would have them removed BUT the moderators won't do this unless frank threats are made on-line.
    Will Professor Field address this anonymous on-line NHS choices abuse of GP practices????

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  • I feel repeatedly "abused" by Professor Field's team and the CQC....by their attempts to smear the whole of General Practice by one or two offenders.
    I demand an apology for all the decent, hard working practices "abused in this way" but will I get one...Nah, just a two-fingered salut!

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  • Our omnipotent CQC now policing NHS Choices comments - where does this end?
    If you find a Practice really doing this sort of mischief, prove it and strike the responsible person off. But if you can't prevent Practices from being abused by anonymous 'patients', then try to resolve that problem first. GPs are not punching bags and can only take that much of abuse from patients and a similar level from NHS bosses.

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  • Well was it "whistleblowers" and "some GPs...filling in a lot of things" or was it "a single incident"? If the latter and Steven Field did indeed claim the former as quoted, an immediate retraction and full explanation would not go amiss. Best practice requires attention to detail and the avoidance of misleading comments.

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  • There is enough on-line abuse these days so why is the CQC not interested in clamping down on "GP abuse" by anonymous individuals freeling hurling abuse at practices without fear of any consequences?? Because it is all part of Hunt's "plan" to demoralise GPs-that is the elephant in the room.

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  • Why do we have to swab every tap monthly looking for legionella.We should have patient dropping like flies if this was so.

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  • This comment has been moderated.

  • Although I would never consider posting a false review myself I can fully appreciate why others may feel that they need to do so. The anonymity offered means the whole system is flawed and one-sided - the online equivalent of being put in the stocks to have rotten veg thrown at you.

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  • Are NHS Choices and its supporters violating GPs and their staff's human rights? For example anyone at all can create an account, including internet trolls, and leave comments which will only be considered for removal or amendment if NHS Choices judges the comments to be racist or to contain any swear words. Everything else including lies, libel, slander, bullying, vindictiveness and maliciousness is all allowed to stand and practices have no recourse. Field overlooks all this but surely he must be aware and know how demoralising this could be.
    We should be campaigning for feedback on NHS Choices to be suspended immediately and all existing feedback to be withdrawn, until a fairer system can be devised.
    It is indefensible and ill judged to try and falsify or influence the reviews and this is likely to be an isolated incident but why is Field is so quick to highlight it and smear the vast majority of hard working practices who are simply trying to do their best in this increasingly oppressive environment?

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  • Glad we don't have that in Wales, but then again the NHS is here second rate according to Mr. Cameron.

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