'Rate your GP' site coming soon

Online transparency is key, says government
Online transparency is key, says government

The government is looking to create a number of websites where you can rate your local services, such as police, GP practices and councils.

In plans outlined today in a document entitled Working Together, Prime Minister Gordon Brown asked for more transparency when it came to rating public services and referred to consumer websites like eBay, Trip Advisor and Amazon which embrace costumer feedback.

He has heralded the move as an "information revolution".

"People take it for granted that they will access other people's reviews and ratings before buying something on eBay or Amazon, and yet we do not yet have systematic access to other people's experiences when choosing a GP practice or nursery," Brown said.

"We have clearly got the balance wrong when online businesses have higher standards of transparency than the public services we pay for and support."

Idea is simplistic

With this, he has announced the arrival of a number of websites where online feedback will be welcomed.

This summer will see the arrival of a commenting section of the NHS Choices website. Here the public will be able to rate their local GPs.

Another similar website will arrive early next year, where childminders and the like can also be rated.

The first site to go live, however, is a council one, where council services can be compared. This is rolling out in May.

Not everyone is happy with the idea of the new sites, with a spokesman for the British Medical Association, Dr Hamish Meldrum, telling the BBC: "Patients are not supermarket customers, and doctors are doing more than providing an easily rated commodity.

"The suggestion that your treatment in the NHS can be as easily rated as a stay in a hotel is simplistic. There is a risk that this exercise could reduce NHS care to a meaningless popularity contest, encouraging perverse behaviours and an emphasis on the superficial."


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, Shortlist.com at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.