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Vast majority of patients remain satisfied with GP services despite slight decline

The proportion of patients who rate their overall experience of their GP surgery as good remains high, but has ‘continued to decline’, NHS England has said.

The GP Patient Survey data for January-March and July-September 2015 found that the vast majority of patients (84.9%) report that their experience of their GP practices is ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

But NHS England’s summary said: ’The majority of patients (84.9%) rate their overall experience of their GP surgery as good, with more than two in five (42.7%) rating their experience as ‘very good’. Compared to 2014, the proportion of patients who rate their experience as good continues to decline, down by 0.3 percentage points from 85.2%.’

Other findings included:

  • 77.7% would recommend their GP surgery to other patients (increase of 0.4%)
  • 91.9% have confidence and trust in the last GP they saw (decrease of 0.3%)
  • 85% able to get an appointment last time they tried (decrease of 0.4%)
  • 91.9% of patients saing their appointment was convenient for them (increase of 0.1%)
  • 74.8% satisfied with GP opening times

Susan Robinson, National Director of Healthwatch England, said: ’The high satisfaction rates reported by the GP patient survey mirror much of what we hear from the public, but when local Healthwatch look deeper into people’s experiences they tell us there is room for improvement…

’Our research has shown a huge appetite amongst the public to work with GPs and other health professionals to revolutionise the way access to primary care works, with patients looking for more online services, self-referrals for services such as physiotherapy and to be able to make better use of community pharmacists.

‘Now is the time for the health service to work with patients as partners to redesign services and ensure every one of us is able to access the right care when we need it.’

 But GPC chair Dr Chaand Nagpaul said the figures demonstrated that ’there is still overwhelming satisfaction with GP services’.

He said: ’This is quite extraordinary feedback given the unprecedented pressures on general practice of soaring workload, falling resources and staff shortages. GPs are working harder than ever before to deliver the best for their patients, but this is not sustainable.

’Many GP practices are struggling just to maintain existing services. The Government needs to provide general practice with the resources, staff and support it needs to continue to deliver high quality care to patients.”