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GP practices set to be rated out of five stars on 'TripAdvisor-style' websites

Exclusive CCGs are planning ‘Tripadvisor-style’ websites to give star ratings to practices on areas such as access, cleanliness and treating patients with care and compassion, Pulse can reveal.

The founder of the iWantGreatCare.org website, which rates individual doctors and services, said it is being contracted by CCGs and CSUs to develop plans, with NHS Cumbria set to launch its version already in September.

Pulse can also reveal that the Department of Health is in the early stages of planning a new national website to benchmark GP practices against one another, although the details of this are yet to be decided.

There have been suggestions for websites comparing GP practices previously, including from former health secretary Andrew Lansley, but the site being set up in Cumbria is the first time a CCG has implemented it and it is far more wide-ranging than NHS Choices.

The website will allow patients to measure all health services throughout Cumbria - including its 82 GP practices - out of five stars.

It will measure areas such as access, cleanliness, being treated with care and compassion, being involved in decision making as well as the nationwide ‘Friends and Family Test’ to generate an overall rating out of five, with which patients can compare services.

But it is currently being held up by resistance from member practices, NHS Cumbria CCG patient engagement lead Jon Rush told Pulse

He said: ‘This is described by the iWantGreatCare team as a bit of a Tripadvisor for healthcare so that patients can rate them based on stars.

‘The GPs are on the database and one of the reasons we haven’t launched it yet is the process at the moment is we are working towards explaining and outlining to GP practices to get them signed up out of the 82, so that’s quite a lot of work around.’

Mr Rush added that the CCG is hoping that if a practice is consistently rated poorly in one area it would move to improve on the metric.

Dr Neil Bacon, founder of iWantGreatCare.org, said they are discussing rolling this out across different regions.

He told Pulse: ‘We are discussing with charities, with trusts, with CCGs. Everybody is realising that they have to collect feedback from patients and they have to share it transparently.’

However, Dr Richard Vautrey, deputy chair of the GPC, warned that these sites ‘misrepresent the reality’ of a practice.

He said: ‘Practices welcome constructive feedback from patients but these types of simplistic sites often misrepresent the reality of what a practice is like and therefore mislead rather than inform patients. Many practices have grave concerns following their experience of sites like NHS Choices where rating judgements can be based on as little as one disgruntled patient.’

‘Neither do such sites reflect the context of the practice or the demographics of the population served. General practice is a complex system and information about the quality of care provided needs to be far more sophisticated to be reliable or useful to patients.’

It comes as Pulse has learnt that the DH is working up plans for a new website – which will be separate to the existing NHS Choices website - to compare GP practices against one another to drive up standards.

As reported by the Daily Mail on the weekend, the DH version may include a ‘traffic lights’ system where practices whose elderly patients were more frequently admitted to hospital as emergencies would get a ‘red’ rating.

Dr Bacon said that he is in discussions with the DH about the website.

He said: ‘I’ve had various meetings [with the Government] and I know the direction, the strategy, the approach. I wouldn’t say I’ve got fine details but the concept of transparency and giving patients more choice and making sure that the best GPs are seen to be the best is something that I am quite close to.’

However, he added: ‘The DH, to be honest, are sort of coming to the party late. More of my meetings are with CCGs and CSUs rather than the DH.’

‘The best CCGs are way ahead of the Department of Health on this.’

The DH confirmed to Pulse that they were considering developing a website that would compare practices.

The plans come as all GP practices will already have to publish Ofsted-style CQC ratings in their waiting rooms as a contractual requirement, under the new CQC inspection regime, and as NHS England’s London area team was planning to tie PMS contractual payments to patient health outcomes including A&E attendances.

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Readers' comments (24)

  • Vinci Ho

    Argument :
    If a practice 'under-performed' and was rated poor but the genuine reason of that was being underfunded, is this going to trigger extra funding from DoH/NHSE??
    Those who are representing patient groups and associations , think carefully , ladies and gentlemen. Where is the equivocal league table/rating of individual NHSE local team, for instance? You really think the government is committed enough to save and support general practice and hence NHS?
    Yes, there is perhaps no excuse if a practice is adequately funded to do its jobs i.e. given the right amount of 'tools'.

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  • Dear Dr Neil Bacon,
    your "tripadvisor" system would have given Dr Harold Shipman glowing scores, he might even have been rated #1 in his area. Are you prepared for the backlash when one of your highly rated practices is exposed as dangerous? Or is given a red rating by the CQC and placed in special measures?
    So we are to be rated by CQC, rated by this "tripadvisor" given official sanction by the morons in the CCG, and rated by a new website the DoH is working up, all in addition to the already extant ratings and reviews on NHS choices.
    We are to spend so much of our time managing our ratings, that we shall not have time to do our jobs.
    Bye bye general practice, well done Dr Neil Bacon.

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  • Bob Hodges

    Dear Neil

    The patients that you court with your faux-objectivity are exactly the kind of patients that I DO hope register with another practice.

    I WANT great care? What about those who NEED great care but can't get an appointment because of a handful of pushy self-obsessed health consumers with sod all wrong with them are monopolising our time?

    YOU are empowering these moron with your nonsense. People are coming to HARM because resources are being misdirected, and it's partially YOUR FAULT.

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  • Is Dr Bacon the founder of Drs net UK?

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  • Friends and family scoring only allows +ve marks in the highest category so is a skewed reflection. If you are ok with the service this doesn't count. NHS choices is for people to moan. All of the people who have complained on NHS choices have never discussed their problem with us to help sort out, giving a very unfair reflection.
    100% or 5* satisfaction is wrong and reflects bad practice--go on prove me wrong!
    Complaint -aint never given me antibiotics, dr at A+E did and I got better after a week.-- F+F fail, tripadvisor fail. This political pandering is turning need into want and will have us playing medicine popularity contests. Free coffee and tea in the waiting room?

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  • We know our patients and our patients know us. It's common for there to be a relationship with patients and their families that can extend over generations. Galling as it is to see negative comments on a public forum, the vast majority of patients form their own opinion on personal experience - reflected in patient surveys showing consistently high ratings for practices.

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  • Hadrian Moss

    NHS Choices web site already has a rating system for practices. Why duplicate something that already gives poor information as it only needs a few disgruntled patients to give a low score for a highly effective practice.

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  • Agree with Hadrian - NHS Choices already does the same - it is useless and not that many people use it - yet we are re-inventing it.

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  • Hadrian- we have 14 NHS Choices comments mostly -ve.
    I'm going to set up a computer with a guide to creating an NHS Choices account and how to comment and I know from our previous surveys results will improve- we can play this ridiculous game too.
    5* or 90%+ ratings would set alarm bells ringing for me.
    'Dr Compliant' with100% rating is likely to be giving antibiotics out for cold and never challenging health behaviours or beliefs. It doen't matter how well trainied you are telling someone to stop eating lard and smoking tabs it will not go down well with100%
    American Drs are suffering a lot from administrators pushing patient satisfaction rates.
    Perhaps we can exhume Hughey Green to host the Opportunity Knocks for the GP voted most popular.

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  • The government needs to make it's mind up on how it wants primary care to function.

    We can work to patient satisfaction and ignore guideline and cost effective practice. Or we can try and make NHS sustainable by challenging unreasonable behaviors and provide care for the country.

    p.s. I use tripadvisor often and in the last few years it has become increasingly unreliable. Now I see mediocre hotels with high rating (presumably from people who has never experienced better) to average ranking hotel due to few unreasonable comments.

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