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GP practices offer the fewest visits to name and embarrass

GP practices to be named and shamed as new league tables will show GP practices offering the fewest visits.

Figures will be released on Thursday, detailing the number of visits to each practice in England and the time it takes to visit.

The government said the statistics, which will be published on the NHS Digital website, will help patients make “more informed choices” about their chosen practice.

This will help “improve the transparency of the results”, officials said.

But leading GPs have raised concerns about the data being used to compare practices without taking into account different characteristics of patients.

For example, a coastal city with an older population may have clinics that offer fewer visits than downtown clinics serving a younger population.

The move was announced last year, but Thursday will be the first day patients will be able to evaluate the visit data provided by their local practice.

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said: “We promised to prioritize patients and improve access and we’ve done just that – and this is just the beginning.

“I am determined to make it easier for people to make appointments with their GP when they need it, and this will allow patients to make a more informed choice about the care they receive.”

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs (RCGP), said: “We have serious concerns about how the publication of practice level data will be used to compare practices with each other, as is the case with general practice which is rarely compared. like the like.

“What works in one practice may not work in another, so they will adapt their services to the patient population.

“We are concerned that this data will be used to create arbitrary ‘league tables’ that do not take into account different patient demographics and ways of working, and that those that appear at the bottom will receive undue criticism at a time when the profession is already demoralized and work under high pressure.

“We also understand that the data released on Thursday will be experimental, so it’s unclear how comprehensive or useful they will be.”

On Wednesday, leading medical professionals expressed concern that more general practitioners are leaving the profession than entering it.

The comments came as Health Education England (HEE) released new figures on the number of doctors entering specialist training to become GPs.

The HEE said 4,032 general practitioner trainees were recruited in 2022 – in line with the government’s target to recruit general practitioner trainees.

However, the RCGP estimated that up to 19,000 GPs could leave the profession in the next five years due to the intensity of workload pressure.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Rishi Sunak’s appointment letter to Mr Barclay had dropped the target of recruiting 6,000 extra GPs in England by the end of 2024 – a Conservatives’ manifesto pledge.

Former health secretary Sajid Javid said earlier this year that the government was unlikely to deliver on its commitment due to the number of GPs retiring early.

But the Department of Health and Social Care insisted that “the target of 26,000 additional primary care staff be met”.

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