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Data on more than 8,000 GP practices in England has been published in an effort to help patients choose the best GP surgery and to drive up standards.

The Department of Health will use the information to measure patient experience for each surgery based on areas such as:

  • How convenient it is to get an appointment.
  • The length of time spent waiting in reception.
  • What the opening hours are like.
  • Whether the doctors and nurses are good at explaining things and listening to patients.

Each GP surgery will get a score out of 10, which the government hopes will help patients choose the best surgery to register with and improve standards within the profession. The data, which will be available to patients on the NHS Choices website, is based on patients' responses to the nationwide GP patient survey.

It will allow patients to make direct comparisons between different GP practices in their area and choose the right GP for their needs. People will also be able to find a GP surgery with experience of treating people with similar conditions like diabetes, coronary heart disease and epilepsy.

Commenting on the publication of the data, health minister Lord Howe, said: "As we set out in our information strategy, we want to make it easier for patients to find the best NHS care for them.

"Opening up this data is another step forward in giving people more choice. Patients will now be able to see exactly what the experience of being a patient at each GP surgery is really like.

"This data will not only help patients choose the right GP surgery for them but will also give GP surgeries and the NHS new information they can use to make fresh, innovative improvements."

As well as the patient experience measures, new data and an analytical tool will be published on the NHS Information Centre website to support GPs and the NHS to make improvements. This includes information on how many patients from each GP surgery didn't attend their first outpatient appointment at hospital.

This article was originally published at Guardian Government Computing.

Guardian Government Computing is a business division of Guardian Professional, and covers the latest news and analysis of public sector technology. For updates on public sector IT, join the Government Computing Network here.

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