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GPs can learn from Starbucks model, says commissioning leader

GPs should learn from high-street coffee shops by ‘publicly and permanently’ showing that feedback is welcomed on ‘any and every aspect’ of their patients’ experience, the director of policy at the NHS Confederation has said.

Dr Johnny Marshall, a GP in Buckinghamshire, wrote on the BBC website that GP practices could learn from Starbucks and others about customer care and the value of customer satisfaction.

He said: ‘In my opinion, GPs offer patients the chance to make far more important decisions about their lives than whether to buy a biscuit to accompany their coffee.

‘Patients who raise concerns are a very good thing, they empower themselves, they improve the care they receive, and they drive up standards of clinical care and patient experience across the service,” he wrote.

Dr Marshall said it is the job of GPs to describe to patients what high quality care looks like and to encourage them to question their doctors if the care they receive falls short.

He said that to make a patient’s ‘customer experience’ exceptional, they each need to understand the full range of possibilities, including their advantages and their risks, and then to receive support to help them decide the best option for their circumstances.

‘This requires GPs and other healthcare professionals to better understand what the patient wants, in the same way that salespeople seek to understand what you are looking for from a new outfit, an electronic device or a present for a loved one.

‘Then they can best assist you in making an informed decision about the options available to you to achieve what you really want.’