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NHS website dental patient reviews: what you need to know

Blog Author Nick Stolls

Blog Date 12/11/2019


Photo credit: Getty Images

The ability for patients to write a review and leave a star rating on a dental practice profile has long been an issue for dental practices. BDA members have raised with me and the BDA advice team about the problems dental practice have faced with these profiles over the years.

This year's LDC Conference passed a motion calling for site moderators to remove comments from patients where the issues raised were outside the control of the practice.

When I took over the portfolio of what was then NHS Choices, the meetings I attended had little relevance to dental practices, however in recent years, a change of team and focus meant that the scope of the group grew to looking at the wider context of the NHS website but which still encompassed dental practice profiles.

From this group I have developed a network of individuals with whom I meet and work with to ensure that dental practice profiles and ratings are more fit for purpose, and are not an additional onerous burden for practices.

We are not quite there yet but we have good working relationships and I think we are heading in a positive direction.

Over the last year I have been meeting with Lee Morgan, (NHS Digital Product Manager – Ratings and Reviews) who many of you will hear speak at the upcoming LDC Officials Day, on 29 November.

I have asked Lee to come and talk to LDC colleagues to explain the recent migration of the ratings and reviews section of the NHS website and how he is changing how providers use and respond to reviews.

To give you a flavour of the recent work going on behind the scenes, on 10 October, the NHS Digital team launched the new updated Ratings and Reviews site. One reason for this was to ensure the site will be 'mobile first' because most people (two thirds of all users) now use the site on their mobile devices.

The new site also means that the new infrastructure is secure and supported, and allows improvements to be made such as a new design and removal of the average star rating. Ratings are now specific to each individual review, and do not contribute to any overall score on the NHS website.

The new product allows providers (such as dental practices who have a profile on the NHS website) to sign up to the new 'comment responder tool'.

In the first hour of launch, there were 1,200 registrations across all the providers who use the site.

As of early November, there are now 4,000 users signed up to be a 'comment responder': those who are authorised to respond to comments posted against the service providing the NHS care (hospital/GP practice/dental practice). Since launch there have been 17,000 responses across the whole site and 5,000 responses submitted into the moderation system.

Any dental practice who has a profile on the NHS site can sign up to the new tool and you can register online.

On the LDC Conference motion for site moderators to have greater flexibility over reviews that aren't relevant to the dental practice, I have raised this issue through Lee, and it is being considered as part of their annual policy review process.

We are fortunate to have this channel to raise your concerns directly and I will continue to work with Lee and the wider team at NHS Digital to ensure that the views of the dental profession are heard and understood.

Nick Stolls, GDPC Executive


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