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GPs should be rewarded for patient experience to encourage a person centred NHS

BMJ 2014; 349 doi: (Published 27 October 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;349:g6422
  1. Geva Greenfield, research associate, Department of Primary Care and Public Health, School of Public Health, Imperial College London W6 8RP
  1. g.greenfield{at}

The NHS’s Quality and Outcomes Framework no longer offers points for patient experience. But these are a good incentive to encourage general practitioners to offer person centred care, says Geva Greenfield

Person centred medicine is seen as crucial to high quality healthcare in the NHS and abroad.1 The UK government envisions that patients should be “at the heart of everything we do” and that for patients there should be “no decision about me, without me.”2 The NHS constitution says that NHS users should receive a patient centred approach to their care, respecting their needs, values, and preferences.

A person centred doctor is sympathetic and interested in patients’ worries and expectations, knows the patient and his or her emotional needs, discusses the problem and treatment, is definite about the problem and when or if it will resolve, and is interested in its effect on the patient’s life.3 This kind of doctor starts from the patient’s situation, legitimises the patient’s illness experience, acknowledges the patient’s expertise, and offers realistic hope. He or she also develops an ongoing partnership, provides advocacy for the patient …

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