Only one in five doctors are aware of patient feedback they receive about them, according to new research.
The study, published in the Journal of Health Services Research and Policy, looked at GPs’, secondary care doctors’ and nurses’ experiences of patient feedback on websites including NHS Choices, Care Opinion and I Want Great Care.
Researchers at the University of Warwick surveyed 501 GPs and 500 secondary care doctors, alongside 749 nurses and midwives in the UK, finding that most respondents were careful about the use of online feedback due to assumptions that it is ‘overwhelmingly negative’ and create missed opportunities to enhance care.
They found that only 20% of GPs and doctors were aware of online feedback about themselves while 28% had knowledge of feedback about an episode of care they took part in.
The findings also showed that the majority of GPs strongly believe that online feedback does not accurately reflect the quality of service they provide.
When asked whether patient feedback on their experiences of NHS care is useful to help improve services, only 6% of doctors ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement and 33% ‘somewhat agreed’.
The study said: ‘Despite enthusiasm from health policymakers, many health care professionals have little direct experience of online feedback, and rarely encourage it, as they view it as unrepresentative and with limited value for improving the quality of health services.’
Warwick associate professsor in primary care research Dr Helen Atherton said: ‘We saw a lack of awareness from healthcare professionals of when feedback had been left about the care they delivered, whether as an individual or team. Overall, awareness and use by doctors is low. But we are seeing that doctors are much more negative about online feedback than nurses, and more so with GPs.
‘There’s a real need that if NHS organisations are collecting this data that they need to be communicating it to frontline staff, because it’s pointless for the patients if their message isn’t getting through.’
Pulse previously reported that GPs will have to collect patient feedback every year – instead of every five years – to allow doctors to ‘pick up any issues to address in a timely way’, under new GMC proposals.