Rate your doctor on-line? – another Whitehall-centric initiative


Even when the Government claims to be ’empowering patients’ it manages to do it in a Whitehall-centric way.

The only ‘new’ initiative to make it into the media in yesterday’s white paper on public services –  “Working Together” (see previous blog) – was the supposedly novel idea of allowing patients to ‘rate’ their local doctors on-line – like Amazon’s book and seller rating systems. Whatever you think of the idea – and it has plenty of critics – Whitehall as usual implements it as if they were the only people in the world. Someone else is already doing it… see the story in today’s Financial Times:

“Millions of pounds of government investment in an NHS Choices website was criticised on Tuesday [by Prof. Colin Tabot] for threatening to stifle independent services that appear to do a better job at less cost.

Patients are to be allowed to post comments about their GP surgeries on the NHS Choices website later this year as the government adds online reviews of council and childcare services to the existing ability to review and rate hospitals on NHS Choices.”

for full story see Financial Times ‘NHS Website spending attacked‘ by Nick Timmins

see also letter in today’s Guardian.

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About Colin Talbot

Professor of Government at the University of Manchester, England.
This entry was posted in Public Management, Whitehall and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Rate your doctor on-line? – another Whitehall-centric initiative

  1. James Munro says:

    As one of the team running Patient Opinion, I was greatly encouraged by your comments in today’s Financial Times.
    It is no secret that it has been much harder for us, as an independent social enterprise, to gain interest and support from NHS organisations, given the existence of a “free” Department of Health-backed alternative. NHS Choices (inadvertently) threatens our survival as an independent social enterprise.
    Ironic, then, the read the following in yesterday’s white paper:
    “In the downturn, third sector organisations face specific challenges; but also have enormous potential to provide valuable services to people locally and innovate in response to tough times. Support provided by the government action plan will increase the opportunities for the third sector…”

  2. Interestingly when I provided feedback to an NHS site, they rejected my comment classifying it as a complaint. When I then complained to the relevant NHS body, my complaint, despite following up twice (once in person, once in writing) has disappeared into a black hole.

    Perhaps I’ll share my story on James Munro’s site.

  3. Donal Flynn says:

    I work in the eHealth area and your blogs are useful and interesting. Keep them coming!

    There is a fair amount of pleasure of course to be had at this sport of pointing out gaps and contradictions in Government pronouncements and “measures”.

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