The trouble with NHS Choices… And a better way to do feedback?

“This is the most mismanaged gp surgery I have ever had the displeasure to use. Difficult to get appointments, impossible to plan around work, rude receptionist…”

 

It is difficult to see how any surgery could use this sort of general criticism to achieve anything positive. More often I find that this sort of comment leaves staff demoralised and defensive.

The premise of NHS Choices sounds superficially sensible. Provide potential patients with honest, good quality testimonials about GP practices. These rational and informed consumers will then choose to take their business to the best practices. The good surgeries are rewarded with new business. The underperformers will respond to patient feedback and improve, or eventually lose patients and go broke.

In most industries and under normal circumstances this would make sense. But, General Practice is not a normal industry and these are strange times. In an environment of clinical staff shortages, many practices simply do not need or want to attract more patients. They simply cannot find or afford the staff they would need to look after them. In addition, due to practices boundary rules, patient choice may be limited to only a collection of equally poorly rated practices facing shared recruitment and demographic problems. 

Feedback is powerful. Thoughtful feedback given with good intentions by a skilled tutor or friend can encourage a student to improve and excel. But, careless feedback can hurt, demoralise and block progress.

Feedback is a useful tool when applied in the right way to a suitable problem…

Continue reading “The trouble with NHS Choices… And a better way to do feedback?”

4 Things the NHS could learn from Disney

Working as a GP in the esteemed but overstretched british national institution which is the modern NHS can be tough at times. I felt this a little more than usual last week having just returned from my summer holiday in the artificial bubble and pinnacle of one of America’s own national institutions – Disney World –  the “happiest place on earth”.

Since beginning this blog, I’m always on the lookout for innovative ideas. Free association of unrelated concepts is a great source of inspiration. So I kept my iPhone in hand to jot down any thoughts that might help improve life and care within General Practice or the wider NHS.

lesson-for-nhs-from-disney-sketch

 

Continue reading “4 Things the NHS could learn from Disney”

Seven reasons a GP is excited about Pokemon Go?

You may have been noticing people acting rather strangely this week. Why are that couple walking on the patch of grass next to the Tesco that leads no where? Why are those teenagers hanging around outside the church next to the surgery? Are there more families walking around together in the sun? And why are they all holding mobile phones in their hands

Fortunately, it seems nearly everyone knows the answer. My 60 year old parents, my eight year old nephew, the practice manager and and the patients all know.

They are all playing Pokemon Go.

A new and addictive mobile game which has taken the world by storm. It is giving us all one of those rare shared cultural moments when everyone, young and old, have something in common to talk about.

“It is perhaps the first game to implement mixed reality

 

Pokemon Go has had more active users than Twitter, and replaced “porn” as the most searched term on Google, this week.

A patient told me about Pokemon Go in clinic this Tuesday. “My autistic son wanted to get up and go out of the house. He never wants to do that.”

Interestingly, Pokemon Go is also receiving praise for having a positive impact on people’s mental and physical health.

PokemonGPPic

 

So what is Pokemon Go and why am I excited?

Continue reading “Seven reasons a GP is excited about Pokemon Go?”