NHS providers to be ‘rated’ by patients

According to an article in The Independent (Monday 27 October 2008), “Ministers are planning the first “Zagat-style” user’s guide to the NHS, which will rate hospitals and GP practices on the basis of comments from patients.”

Zagat is a US-based organisation that provides ratings and reviews of restaurants, hotels, nightlife and attractions, which help consumers make better decisions. Zagat has teamed up with another US organisation to provide ratings and reviews of doctors in the USA.

In the NHS in England, over 6,000 comments from patients on individual NHS trusts have been recorded on the NHS Choices website. The “Zagat-style” scheme is due to go live next year with a TV campaign and dedicated website that patients will be encouraged to use to rate the service they received. This move is part of Lord Darzi’s drive to improve quality in the NHS, although he is apparently against the notion of rating individual doctors stating that “high quality medicine is a team effort now.”

Healthcare Governance Review welcomes any genuine attempt by the government to establish the bona-fide experiences of patients receiving NHS care and to ensure such experiences help drive up quality across the NHS, including GP practices. It remains to be seen how what the government is planning differs from the national inpatient surveys undertaken by the Healthcare Commission, which already provide an indication of patient reported quality across the NHS in England.

To read the full Independent article, click here.

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