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More detailed GP patient survey to move beyond access

By Gareth Iacobucci

Patients will be asked far more in-depth questions about the service they receive from their GP surgery and other primary care services in future patient surveys, new details released by the Department of Health today show.

Guidance issued to SHAs, PCTs and GP practices says the survey will move beyond measuring 'fast and convenient access' to provide 'a much richer assessment' of patients' experience.

The expanded survey - to be conducted by Ipsos MORI - will ask patients a wider range of questions on new areas such as experience of out-of-hours services.

The survey will quiz patients on how clean their GP practice is; how they are treated by reception staff; plus experience of getting through on the phone for either an appointment or test results.

Patients will be also be asked about the ease which they can access GP appointments, which will be used to assess QOF achievement on access, and will also be asked about surgery waiting times.

It will also include questions on whether patients are seeing a preferred doctor, how satisfied they are with opening hours, planning of care for patients with long-term conditions plus overall satisfaction with care received.

The DH said the new topics for the questionnaire had been confirmed as matters that are important to patients.

The survey - which will cost around £8m this year – will be posted to 5.7 million patients in January, and will be carried out every quarter for the next three years.

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