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Survey finds patients increasingly positive about their GP surgery

As the NHS treats more patients than ever before, new data shows the majority of people are increasingly positive about their GP care – with more than 85 per cent rating their overall experience of their GP surgery as good.

The GP Patient Survey 2016 compiled responses from more than 800,000 people across the country on their experience of healthcare services provided by GP surgeries, including access to GP surgeries, making appointments, the quality of care received from GPs and practice nurses, satisfaction with opening hours and out-of-hours NHS services.

The survey found almost four in five patients would recommend their GP surgery to someone who has just moved to the local area and more than 73 per cent of patients rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good.

However, it also suggests areas for improvement, with less patients reporting that they can usually see their preferred GP, and a reduction in the number of patients with one or more long-standing health conditions saying they had enough support from local services or organisations.

The annual survey has undergone redevelopment with new questions to more accurately capture patient experiences, meaning some data cannot be compared with previous years.  Areas where the figures are comparable have seen some improvements, with more patients reporting feeling satisfied with the hours that their GP surgery is open (75.9 per cent), and the number of patients who felt their surgery was open at times that are convenient for them also increasing (74.6 per cent).

Dr Arvind Madan, Director of Primary Care for NHS England, said: “The GP Patient Survey shows patients appreciate the fantastic job GPs and the wider primary care work force are doing in challenging times. The findings also reinforce the case for investing in and strengthening primary care, exactly as we are now doing. Our General Practice Forward View, which committed to increasing investment in services culminating in an extra £2.4 billion a year by 2020/21 to support primary care, will stabilise and transform general practice, manage demand on services and expand the workforce.”

Key findings

  • 85.2% described the overall experience of their GP surgery as good. This is 0.4 percentage points higher than the 2014-15 results.
  • 73.4% of patients rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good. This is 0.1 percentage points higher than the 2014-15 results.
  • 78.0% would recommend their GP surgery to someone who just moved into their local area. This is 0.5 percentage points higher than the 2014-15 results.
  • 49.2% of patients said they have a GP they prefer to see or speak to.  This is 2.6 percentage points lower than the 2014-15 survey findings, and 7.2 percentage points lower than the 2011-12 survey findings.
  • Of those who have a preferred GP, 58.4% said that they see or speak to them a lot of the time, almost always or always.  This is 1.2 percentage points lower than in 2014-15.
  • 75.9% of patients are satisfied with the hours that their GP surgery is open. This is 1.0 percentage point higher than the 2014-15 results.
  • 74.6% of patients said that their GP surgery is open at times that are convenient for them. This is an increase of 0.8 percentage points since the 2014-15 results.
  • Overall awareness of online services has increased in the last year. 31.3% of respondents are aware that their practice offers online booking (4.3 percentage points higher than the 2014-15 results).

Data publications can be found on the GP Patient Survey website.

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