NHS Watchdogs to Track Healthcare Whiners on Facebook

By Gary Cutlack on at

The new chairman of the Care Quality Commission has arrived on the job with a new idea -- monitoring social media for signs of unrest within the NHS. Good luck with that.

According to an interview with new boss Peter Wyman, this sort of "early intelligence" might come in handy when determining where things are going wrong. It may also give everyone a laugh about the battering Jeremy Hunt is currently getting for his reforms.

Wyman explained: "There are an awful lot of ways to capture what people are saying -- it could be what people are saying on Facebook, it could be formal patient complaints, it could be what Healthwatch are saying," adding that "We live in a world of big data, we need to be able to capture it and analyse it intelligently."

The subtext seems to be that this might allow the CQC to carry out fewer physical inspections of the NHS units, care homes and GPs it regulates, with data -- including mortality statistics -- giving inspectors key clues about performance without having to pound the corridors. [Telegraph via BBC]

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