Drop in satisfaction among patients
Published on 13 December 2013 02:00 PM
Patient satisfaction with GPs has fallen across England, raising concerns about the standard of service on offer.
A survey from NHS England and Ipsos Mori reveals that fewer people are finding it easy to book appointments, while trust in doctors and out-of-hours services has also dropped slightly over the last year.
More than 943,000 patients who responded to the poll were asked to give an honest assessment of their local practice, answering 10 key questions.
Some 86.2% of these rated their overall experience of their GP as good, although this figure is down slightly (1.4%) on 2012.
A further 75.5% claimed their overall experience of making an appointment was good (a 2.4% drop), while 73.9% found it easy to get through to their GP surgery on the phone (down 2.7%).
Meanwhile, 64.2% said they definitely had confidence and trust in the last GP they saw (a 0.7% fall) and 67.5% described their overall experience of out-of-hours GP services as good (a 3.3% drop).
Survey provides 'important feedback'
Commenting on the findings, Dr Mike Bewick, deputy medical director at NHS England, singled out the positives.
'As a GP myself, I know that patients rely on us to provide a high-quality service when they need it. I also know how busy GPs are and it is encouraging that 86% of people say their experience of their GP surgery is good,' he said.
'It is the views of our patients that are most important - namely, whether they feel they are getting the service they need when they need it. This survey provides important feedback that GPs and commissioners can use to put improvements in place.'
The survey also found that, of those who could get an appointment at their surgery, 15% waited more than a week to be seen by a doctor, 32% were seen within a few days and 37% were seen on the same day.
Some 22% of people who called their out-of-hours service said it was 'not very easy' or 'not at all easy' to contact them by phone, while 14% did not have any confidence or trust in the out-of-hours doctor 'at all'.
As many as 34% also thought it took 'too long' to receive care from out-of-hours services.
Copyright Press Association 2013