Rate your GP surveys under consideration

BEN HEATHER
Last updated 05:00 09/06/2014

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Is your doctor a polite professional or a fumbling flirt?

Soon you will be able to tell them what you think, with the Government considering introducing nationwide rate-my-GP surveys for patients.

The information could be used to publicly rate practices, and even determine funding for GPs based on positive patient feedback.

GPs have cautiously welcomed the idea but say it is important it does not devolve into a "popularity contest".

It comes as hospitals also prepare for greater patient scrutiny, with district health boards required to run quarterly patient surveys for the first time from next month.

The survey allows patients to rate a hospital out of 10 and point out what they liked and disliked, from the food to the conversation.

The Health Quality and Safety Commission is now considering expanding a similar survey to the country's more than 3000 GPs.

Director of health quality evaluation Richard Hamblin said there was a gap in measuring patients' experience with their GPs. "After the hospitals, it is something we are looking at over the next year."

Exactly what information will be made publicly available is yet to be decided but it is unlikely to be along the lines of rate-my-doctor websites, where patients can post critical or flattering comments.

Something similar is run by Britain's National Health Service, but Hamblin said it relied on too few comments to be useful for measuring GPs' performance.

Wellington GP Richard Medlicott said while more public feedback was helpful, there was a risk a few vocal disgruntled patients could unfairly damage a doctor's reputation.

Unofficial doctor rating sites are already popular overseas and New Zealand doctors have started popping up.

On the ratemds.com website, there were 23 GPs rated in the Wellington region alone.

Most were highly regarded but a few managed low ratings, with one accused of "hating fat people" and another of being "arrogant and horrible".

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- The Dominion Post

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