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Fifth of GPs would not use their local hospital

Exclusive: A significant minority of GPs have personally experienced a poor standard of care at their local hospital, with many citing deficiencies in personal care as the chief failing.

Pulse's survey of 500 GPs, conducted with sister title Practical Commissioning, found more than a fifth would not use their local hospital if they or their family needed substantial specialist care.

While 64% of GPs rated the clinical care at their local hospital as ‘good' or ‘very good', only 44% gave a similar rating for speed and efficiency, and just 38% for communication or personal care. Hospitals were accused of treating some patients ‘as on a factory production line'.

Some 21% of GPs said they would not use their hospital if they or their family needed substantial specialist care. Where the GP or a family member had recently used their hospital, 64% said the care was of a high standard, but 18% said it was not.

A GP in the North East said: ‘I felt when my wife went in for surgery she was in a tunnel where she went in one side and came out the other as if on a factory production line. There seemed to be no appreciation of the human side to her care.'

A GP in south London, who asked not to be named, said substandard nursing care was common: ‘Patients not being fed, not being washed, the sort of nursing care that none of us would want ourselves or for

our patients. It is quite concerning.'

Dr Martin Wolfson, a GP in Surbiton, Surrey, said: ‘The local hospital is fine if you are young, fit and articulate, but if it was your grandfather, it wouldn't happen. It's money-driven and it's lost the personal touch.'

Dr Tony Brzezicki, a GP in Croydon and member of Croydon CCG, was one of those to say he would not choose his local hospital: ‘The biggest issue is how poor patient experience is. Survey results are poor and have been for a number of years, even if outcomes are good.'

Dr Adam Skinner, a GP in Kent, said: ‘[I am] very pleased with the Tunbridge Wells hospital at Pembury. I wouldn't send my dog to Princess Royal University Hospital at Farnborough.'

South London Healthcare NHS Trust said it had significantly improved its mortality rates, while Croydon Health Services said there had been a ‘marked improvement' in patient experience. Kingston Hospital NHS Trust in Surrey said CQC inspectors had recently praised it for treating patients with ‘kindness and respect'.