Conservative MP Grant Shapps' 'Name and Shame' website is the latest publicity stunt to put patient appointment targets back into the headlines. While political parties continue to wrangle with one another, GPs must continue to run their practices under the significant pressure placed on them by these targets.
Perhaps the greatest issue for GPs is that we must see more and more patients but also ensure a consistently high level of care afforded to them. This can only be achieved through easy and immediate access to relevant information to aid in diagnosis, information to drive real choices and protocols to assist best practice.
Information flies through our doors and into our inboxes on a daily basis, and only some of it can be immediately attended to. Of course, filing the important letters and pamphlets and actually reading them are two totally different things. Embracing new technology through dedicated and peer-regulated internet search engines ensures that all information can be easily accessed at any time, allowing GPs to glance at new reports without wasting potential patient time digesting possibly irrelevant news. These services are increasingly becoming invaluable to every GP's daily routine and are just one way to develop our professional ethos and quality accessible healthcare.
Dr Andy Jones, member of www.searchmedica.co.ukreference panel, and GP, Stamford, Lincolnshire