The doctor blogs have been commenting on a new site that has been built for rating doctors called iWantGreatCare. Now I am normally for anything which makes people aware of any difficulties with health care but in this case I feel the need to agree with Dr. Crippen, The Jobbing Doctor and the Ferret Fancier ( I must be sickening for something when I agree with Dr. Crippen) and any other doctor who who has written about this. A member of my family is a teacher and they have a site called Rate my Teacher but as they point out, it is only ever written in by children who they have had a run in with. So no one takes it seriously and in fact no teachers even bother to read it as any sensible comments are buried under the childish, the vitriolic and the puerile comments. And this is the problem with this site, there may be some good constructive criticism written but no one will look at that. It is much easier to believe that Dr. X is an arrogant, unfeeling, uncaring martinet written by someone with a grudge than to believe that perhaps Dr. X had a bad day. Dr. X may be all these things and there has to be some method of complaint about doctors (and nurses) and they must have the right of reply but a public, unsecured, anonymous website is not the way.
Nurses have always known the value of popularity contests (otherwise known as patient satisfaction scores) and we consistently score higher than anyone else. Does this mean that we are better than everyone else? Course not, it means that we deal with patients on a day to day basis and are the visible presence of the hospital for patients - we are the ones who get them the cups of tea or the blankets or the pain medicines. For interest, Dr. Shipman was loved by his patients and many did not believe that such a nice man could do what he was accused of despite evidence to the contrary that he was, possibly, the biggest mass murderer in this country.
Out of curiosity I looked up a random department from my hospital, only 3 doctors are listed; 1 moved on a year ago, 1 only works one session a week and the other is a staff grade. That is it, no consultants, no middle grades, no juniors. So who are they going to rate?
I believe that in America they have introduced a system where the hospital payments are linked to receiving good patient satisfaction scores. So what is your priority? Good care or popular care? Sometimes they can be synonymous but only sometimes and very rarely in Emergency Medicine where you have long waiting times.
Sometimes consultations between doctors and patients/relatives do not go smoothly, sometimes it's the doctors fault, sometimes it's the patients/relatives fault and sometimes communications just fail. Doctors have recognised this and a greater amount of time is being spent in medical schools on communication using video technology so perhaps in future consultations can go smoothly and popularity contests will not be required.