in Health

Wandsworth’s best GPs

View Wandsworth GP ‘approval’ ratings in a larger map
Given that the police aren’t too keen on the whole mapping thing I’m turning my attention to the NHS this week.

This map is a (not very good) attempt at showing which GP practices have the highest ‘approval’ in the borough. I did it largely to see if there was any geographic patterns, and there don’t seem to be any, so a bit of a waste of time. Basically the darker the blue the higher the approval. If there’s any pattern at all probably that there’s a correlation between deprivation and what people think of their GP, but not much of one.

The data are from the GP patient satisfaction survey, and use the most recent results. My interpretation of approval is to basically subtract the percentage of people expressing dissatisfaction from the percentage of people expressing satisfaction. (I’m fully aware that satisfaction if you measured satisfaction with me in the same way it would be much lower.) This also has the effect of increasing the margin of error, but since the results are in line with individual satisfaction and dissatisfaction ratings, as well as the results for a separate question on whether patients would recommend their surgery to others, I’m comfortable that the results have enough validity for a blog post.

It’s worth pointing that that these are based on subjective patient opinion, not on clinical outcomes. It’s entirely possible that some of those negatives will reflect decisions that, while made in the best interests of the patient, were not what the patient actually wanted.

The sample are, to a degree, self-selecting, because they are among the third or so who bothered to reply. And you might also question whether some of the higher scores are just because dissatisfied patients have left!

But I think there is some value in the data. You do not, generally, need to be a clinician to instinctively know if you are getting good care. And while I know, politically, saying anything that makes it seems like advocating a market within the NHS can be dangerous, I have to wonder why patients from Balham Hill (52% approval) aren’t all wandering down to Balham Park (97% approval). If anything it’s an argument that this sort of data should be more public, along with information on how to move. Without making any judgement on the individual surgeries or GPs scores, you would think that when it comes to health people should be looking to be satisfied rather than staying put with a GP practice with which they are unhappy.

One of the interesting factors that I think might be at play is that those practices that seem to be scoring really highly also tend to be those that have active and involved patient involvement groups. That’s certainly the case for Balham Park, which didn’t have anyone dissatisfied and has 99% of respondents saying they would recommend the practice (Balham Hill has only get 54%, 31% say they would not recommend it). While there might be cause and effect there, I’ve no idea which way round it goes – is there a patient group because it’s a good surgery, or a is it a good surgery in part because there’s a patient group.

I post it for interest. It’s well worth taking a look the full data on the GP patient survey website. And in the interests of openness, you can download the data I used for the map (essentially the Wandsworth data with a few sums and geographical data added in CSV format).

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