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Proposed NHS consumer feedback site

The government hopes to improve NHS standards through competition by encouraging patients to comment on the performance of their GP on an NHS website.

Under the proposals, patients will be invited to post messages on a website about their experiences of GP practices.

Health minister, Ben Bradshaw, said he hoped the consumer feedback would work for the healthcare system in a similar way to ratings on Amazon have for the book trade.

But doctors said they were worried the online opinion boards could mislead patients by acting as a popularity contest rather than giving accurate information about medical skills.

The proposed GP information-sharing scheme, which a Department of Health spokesman said should be ready "by the end of the summer", will follow the introduction of patient comments about hospitals on NHS Choices last April.

The spokesman said: "We are encouraging hospitals, and will do so with GP practices, to make the most of the patient comments facility to engage with patients."

But the British Medical Association (BMA) accused the government of not thinking the plan through properly.

Laurence Buckman, chairman of the BMA's GPs committee, said: "A website on which people can slander or praise irresponsibly is the wrong approach."

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