GPs 'to get star ratings'GPs put to test after pay rise

06 June 2006

GP surgeries are to be awarded star ratings to help patients assess their quality of care, it's reported today.

A stethoscope held by a doctor

The Times reports that plans drawn up by the Royal College of General Practitioners will see family doctors awarded between one and three stars.

GPs will then be encouraged to display the ratings outside their surgery under the scheme, which is expected to start as voluntary but become compulsory later.

Pay rises

According to The Times, the move has the support of ministers who want to increase pressure on GPs to perform after recent pay rises.

To achieve the minimum — one star — GPs would have to achieve a certain standard on opening hours, prompt telephone answering and flexible appointment booking.

The new GP ratings would be reviewed every three years after a two-day assessment by a panel including a doctor, nurse, surgery manager and patient representative.

Patient survey

It's reported that the scheme could be in place by next April but a Department of Health spokeswoman said 'any talk of a kite-mark scheme is very premature'.

The spokeswoman added that patients would be asked to assess their GPs in the next year, through a survey of 6 million people.