The UK Government recently announced that it is opening up more choice for patients as they will soon be able to register with a GP practice of their choice. This new tool will help patients make that choice and is now available at www.nhs.uk to give people all the information they need to decide which of England’s 8,300 practices is right for them. Capita have delivered the www.nhs.uk website for the NHS.
Similar to the hospital comparison service launched over the summer, the tool will make it easier to find key information in one place, such as opening times and additional facilities offered by the GP practice. Patients will also be able to read other people’s comments about:
· How easy it is to get an appointment
· How highly they would recommend the GP practice
· How well patients are treated by staff
· If patients felt they were involved in decisions about their care.
UK Health Minister Mike O’Brien said: “As we open up real choice in primary care, it is vital we equip patients with enough information to make the right choice for them.We recently announced that we intend to abolish GP practice boundaries, building on success in extending GP opening hours and establishing almost 100 new GP health centres open 12 hours a day, seven days a week across the country.
“This new tool allows every single GP practice in the country to see the patient’s view on what they are doing well and what needs to be improved. It will help drive up quality across the board, and is another step in ensuring we have a modern NHS which reflects the needs of the patient.”
Dr. Peter Swinyard, Chairman of the Family Doctor Association, said: “The Family Doctor Association supports this initiative and believes that patient feedback on GP services is an effective way of driving up the standards of primary care even further.”
Last month, the Government announced its intention to abolish GP boundaries within the next year, meaning patients will be able to register with a GP practice of their choice. Under current arrangements, GP practices have catchment areas and tend only to accept patients who live within those areas.