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Will doctor rating sites improve standards of care? Yes

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 17 March 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b1030
  1. Neil Bacon, founder,
  1. 1Summertown Pavilion, Oxford OX2 7LG
  1. info{at}

    The UK government has signalled its support for rating sites with the decision to set up its own through the NHS Choices website. Neil Bacon believes they provide essential feedback for doctors, but Margaret McCartney (doi:10.1136/bmj.b1033) is concerned that the potential harms are still unclear

    Patient experience is a key component of the measurement of the quality of care we deliver.1 Thus no individuals or organisations can know they are delivering high quality care without a full awareness and understanding of the experience of their patients—it would be like caring for a patient with a kidney transplant without knowing the creatinine concentration.

    Unfortunately, doctors are known to be poor judges of their patients’ satisfaction and experience,2 3 4 and at an organisational level it is probably even worse. Acute trusts score a mean of just 0.68 out of 10 for how much they ask for the views of their patients.5 In effect, most doctors and NHS healthcare organisations are “flying blind” with respect to the experience of their patients—hardly a patient centric, or professional, way to deliver health care. Worse than that, it is not an effective or efficient way …

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