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BMA concerned over “consumerist approach” to patient feedback

11 March 2009

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Doctors are concerned over government proposals to encourage patients to post comments online, the British Medical Association (BMA) said yesterday (10 March 2009).

Commenting on the Department of Health’s new plans to encourage patients in England to comment on health services through the NHS Choices website, Dr Hamish Meldrum (pictured), Chairman of Council at the BMA, said: “Doctors already seek the views of their patients to improve the care they provide.

“The consumerist approach being advocated by the government is not well-suited to the NHS. Patients are not supermarket customers, and doctors are doing more than providing an easily rated commodity.

“Healthcare is complex – it’s about partnership. 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.”