The X factor treatment won’t mend a sore throat.

I hate going to the doctor, under any circumstance. For one, they often try and attack me with sharp implements (known to many as needles, which often contain life-saving drugs – but you say parrth and i say path) and secondly, they always have cold hands.

Thank the lord that by next year a new grading system will allow me to go online (where else?!) and cast my judgemental, medically uninformed eye down a list of rated GPs. After comparing feedback comments I will be able to select my dream doctor and go merrily on my way to health and well-being.

According to health minister Ben Bradshaw in the Guardian, the new grading system for GPs, which will be run from the NHS Choices website, will do for the medical world what Amazon has done for shopping. Hurrah…

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw likens the new grading system to Amazon or Trip Advisor, and hopes it will spark competition between surgeries.

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw likens the new grading system to Amazon or Trip Advisor, and hopes it will spark competition between surgeries.

Prospective patients will be able to views comments about a whole variety of important GP-visiting-factors, including it seems the friendliness of the receptionist, and most probably the number of 1980’s Woman and Home magazines available.

But here’s the thing. Despite my dislike for visiting my GP, I just want her to make me better. I have no idea what she is doing when she is poking fingers into my jaw and shining lights into my ears, but I trust that she knows more than me and will douse me up with something to solve my ills.

Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee, made the point well when he said: “If I don’t give antibiotics for a viral infection because I don’t think it is appropriate, the word will get out that I am a tough git. But making them happy is not what I am there for. I am there to make them healthy.”

The British Medical Association likens the rating system to a popularity contest, which says nothing about medical skill.

If it did rate medical skill, I wouldn’t expect many GPs to fall well below par; I understand there are certain qualifications one has to gain before being set loose on the world with pointy devices and frosty fingers.

The scheme plans to improve standards through competition; it would basically be X factor for the medical world, not Amazon. (Although why we should rejoice it at being like Amazon is anyone’s guess – they are two weeks late on delivery of my mothers Christmas present.)

We will live in a world of unsatisfied consumers patients, as the paradox of choice extends even further. After deciding on one particular GP, we will sit nervously in the waiting room, hoping we made the right choice and after our appointment we will feel ever disappointed with the results and think of all the other GPs that could have made us happier healthier.


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