You have to feel for the poor patient in Somerset who – on providing their practice with a glowing review on NHS Choices – was then accused of being a member of the practice’s staff, in what might be the most mundane example of espionage this year.
NHS Choices point out that their procedure is to look into any comments flagged by users, and they have only removed 200 or so reviews this year – which may be positive or negative.
But this misses the point. Because NHS Choices isn’t something practices have had a choice in participating in. It is a sounding board for disgruntled patients – who are often simply annoyed about having their requests for antibiotics turned down.
It doesn’t have the benefits of a TripAdvisor, which potential customers will be using constantly, and is far more likely to attract positive reviews.
So when one of the few times that a patient takes the time to post a positive review, it sticks in the craw to have that doubted.
The BMA’s English LMCs Conference has already voted for NHS Choices to be scrapped. Perhaps a better solution is to have an NHS Managers Choices, where GPs are allowed to rate senior staff and ministers. You’d be forgiven for being cynical about any positive review there, mind.
Jaimie Kaffash is editor of Pulse