For the first time NHS patients can assess how highly rated local GP surgeries are before choosing a family doctor.
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Data from the twice-yearly GP patient survey, completed by 1.4 million people for Mori, has been pulled together on the NHS Choices website.
Marks out of 10 are awarded for each surgery, based on ease in arranging an appointment, waiting times, opening hours and the listening and explaining skills of doctors and nurses.
Our helpline is seeing a trend of increasing complaints about GPs. Katherine Murphy, Patients Association
People enter their postcode and can compare GP surgeries in their local area. The Department of Health believes the statistics, embracing 8,000 practices in England, will help people choose a good surgery, while encouraging family doctors to make improvements.
Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association, said the organisation’s helpline was receiving increasing numbers of complaints about GPs and she hoped the new system would reduce them.
Ms Murphy added: “We welcome these proposals, because they will result in more information being available for patients when they are making a choice about which GP to register with. They will also enable patients to compare the performance of their own GP with others.
“Our helpline is seeing a trend of increasing complaints about GPs, covering a number of areas, including difficulties obtaining an appointment, complaints about the behaviour of the reception staff and other factors that affect their overall experience.”
Health Minister Lord Howe said: “Giving patients more information about their local NHS is a big part of our commitment to transparency and using data to drive improvements. Opening up this data is another step forward in giving people more choice.”
People will also be able to find a GP surgery with experience of treating people with similar conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease and epilepsy.