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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GPs set to miss access targets as survey scores dip further

By Gareth Iacobucci

GPs' are set to lose thousands from this year's patient survey after their performance against two key access targets which cost them millions last year continued to fall in the third quarter of the controversial GP Patient Survey.

Results for the first three quarters of 2009/10 (up to December 2009) show that 80% of people who tried to get an appointment with a GP in 48 hours were able to do so, down slightly from 81% in the first two quarters, and 84% for last year.

71% of those who tried to book ahead were able to get an appointment more than two full weekdays in advance, but this has also dipped slightly from the 72% in the first two quarters, and 76% last year.

The latest results support forecasts made by Pulse in January - that the average practice will lose £4,315, compared with £3,295 last year, if final patient survey scores published in June are in line with the results for the first two quarters.

This is in part due to the fact that most GPs fell short of the 50.7% swine flu vaccination uptake they needed in at-risk under-65s to qualify for relaxed thresholds on the PE7 and PE8 survey questions.

The projected losses come despite 90% of patients reporting that they were either very satisfied or fairly satisfied with the overall care they receive at their GP surgery.

GP patient survey

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