While some American doctors are taking steps to try and prevent
their patients from reviewing them online, the British government says that it will soon open up a feedback system for people there to review doctors in the country's National Health System
. Not surprisingly, a doctors' trade body has taken exception to the plan, saying it "could reduce NHS care to a meaningless popularity contest, encouraging perverse behaviours and an emphasis on the superficial." Perhaps that's true, but it could also put pressure on doctors to be more responsive to patients and pay more attention to how they treat them. The move is part of a wider effort to open up all sorts of public services in the UK to public feedback, rating service providers like police, schools and childcare providers. The value of the feedback when people don't have any choice in provider -- such as police -- may be debatable, but it could prove to be a useful tool to help encourage improvement.