Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/08/12/nhs_doctors_hospital_ratings/

DoH rate-my-doc site won't name and shame individual docs

Or at least it will try not to

By John Oates

Posted in Government, 12th August 2009 08:02 GMT

The Department of Health is launching a doctor rating service in October, but it will not name and shame individual doctors.

The idea was announced back in December by then-Minister for Health Ben Bradshaw. He said at the time he wanted a site which would do for doctors what Amazon has done for the book trade.

The news emerged as the Department of Health launched a hospital comparison site on nhs.uk which includes various ratings for hospitals alongside comments from users and visitors. You can compare hospitals according to mortality rates, overall performance, infection rates, even car parking facilities or the quality of food.

A spokeswoman for the DoH said there would be a similar service for General Practices, not General Practitioners, launching in October. She said: "There will be comparisons and comments, but for practises, not individual doctors."

A spokesman for the British Medical Association remains unconvinced. He told us: "We still have concerns that it will be easy to identify individuals. It is difficult to imagine how it could work if it didn't give you enough information to identify individuals."

Of course there have been several attempts to launch privately funded sites which do identify and rate individual doctors before, but they've struggled to get enough feedback from patients to be really useful. And such sites are the norm in the US.

We've asked what this means for individually staffed practices and for other individuals like receptionists and practice nurses who might be identified but have yet to hear back. For some reason the Reg is as popular as swine flu down there... ®