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GP Patient Survey 2017
Aggregated data for January 2017 to March 2017
NHS England together with Ipsos MORI, have today published the latest Official Statistics from the GP Patient Survey. The survey provides information on patients’ overall experience of primary care services and their overall experience of accessing these services.
Results are based on aggregated data collected from a single wave of fieldwork. In previous years, questionnaires were sent out bi-annually and data for two waves were combined for publication. For example, the ‘2015-16 GP Patient Survey’ published in July 2016 was produced using data from 2 waves of questionnaires, July – September 2015 and January – March 2016 combined to enable publication of results at GP practice level. In 2017 a similar number of surveys were distributed in a single wave as the combined number of surveys that were distributed across two waves in previous years. Therefore, there are sufficiently large sample sizes to publish statistically robust results at GP practice level. Results are also published at national and Clinical Commissioning Group level.
Changes in frequency of publication and methodological changes have resulted in a change to how 2017 results at national level are compared with previous years of the survey. In 2017 the survey has reverted to an annual formation (an annual publication of one wave of fieldwork as described above). Analysis was undertaken to assess the comparability of survey estimates on trend, there were 2 parts to this analysis.
Firstly, the analysis compared wave 1 only estimates to wave 2 only estimates. It showed that there is evidence of a small observed effect between waves across most (but not all) survey measures tested, with those completing the questionnaire in Wave 2 (January-March) slightly more positive.
Secondly, the analysis compared historical estimates from wave 2 only (in keeping with fieldwork timings going forward from 2017) against estimates based on both waves from previous years (in keeping with the current approach to data comparisons on trend). This analysis showed that though there are differences between the two sets of estimates there is no consistency in these differences.
Considering the above analysis there is insufficient evidence that switching from two waves of fieldwork to a single period will make any substantial different to the survey estimates. However, because the sample sizes for GPPS are so large at a national level a conservative approach has been adopted, comparing 2017 data against wave 2 only (January-March) results from previous years of the survey (please see table 1 below). This will ensure that any observed differences between years cannot possibly be a result of an underlying effect of fieldwork timing. This effect and change in methodology is described in more detail here.
Table 1 Summary guidance for time series data at national, CCG and practice level
|Approach for analysis on trend|
|National||Compare Year 11 estimates to historical estimates from Wave 2 only|
|CCG||Compare Year 11 estimates to historical estimates from both waves (a full year of data)|
|Practice||Compare Year 11 estimates to historical estimates from both waves (a full year of data)|
Data are weighted by age and gender so that results resemble the eligible registered list population of each practice and CCG.
The latest survey consisted of around c2.15 million postal questionnaires sent out to adults registered with GP practices in England across one wave, from January 2017 to March 2017. Over 808,000 patients completed and returned a questionnaire, resulting in a national response rate of 37.5%.
Summary of key headlines
A summary of some of the key headlines from the 2017 weighted results is provided below. For a more detailed overview of the results please see the data and reports published on the survey’s main website:
The results presented for 2017, are based on one wave of fieldwork conducted during January 2017 to March 2017 only. Given the size of the survey, even small changes in percentages are likely to be statistically significant. However, the scope of this summary does not include testing to confirm that all changes presented are statistically significant. Percentage point changes quoted throughout this summary are rounded values of the difference between the unrounded figures. Therefore occasionally they do not match the difference between the rounded figures.
- The majority of individuals (84.8%) rate their overall experience of their GP surgery as good, with more than two in five (42.9%) rating their experience as ‘very good’. Compared to 2016, the proportion of individuals who rate their experience as ‘good’ has decreased by 0.9 percentage points from 85.7%.
- Almost four in five patients (77.4%) say they would (definitely or probably) recommend their GP surgery to someone who has just moved into their local area, a decrease of 1.1 percentage points from 78.5% since 2016.
- Around seven in ten patients (72.7%) rate their overall experience of making an appointment as good, with a third saying it was ‘very good’ (33.0%). Compared to 2016, the proportion of patients who rate their experience as good has decreased by 1.3 percentage points from 74.0%.
- Nearly one in five patients (18.3%) say they tried to contact an NHS service in the past 6 months when they wanted to see a GP but their GP surgery was closed, either for themselves or for someone else. Of these, two in three (66.2%) rate their overall experience of out-of-hours NHS services as good, with just under three in ten (29.7%) saying it was ‘very good’. Compared to 2016, the proportion of patients who rate their experience as good has decreased by 1.7 percentage points from 67.9%.
Access to in-hours GP services
- Seven in ten patients (68.0%) say it is easy to get through to their GP surgery on the phone, a decrease of 1.9 percentage points from 69.9% since 2016.
- The majority of patients (86.7%) say the receptionists at their GP surgery are helpful, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points from 87.3% since 2016.
- Nearly half of all patients (46.2%) have a GP they prefer to see, a decrease of 2.4 percentage points from 48.6% since 2016. Of these patients, nearly three in five (55.6%) say they ‘always or almost always’ see them or see them ‘a lot of the time’, a decrease of 2.8 percentage points from 58.4% since 2016.
- Most patients (84.3%) say they were able to get an appointment to see or speak to someone the last time they tried, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from 84.9% since 2016.
- Of patients who were able to get an appointment, more than nine out of ten (92.1%) say their appointment was convenient, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from 92.5% since 2016.
Online GP services
- The majority of patients (85.6%) normally book their appointment over the phone, while more than one in four (27.4%) book in person. Patients increasingly say they book appointments to see a GP or nurse online (8.7%), increasing by 1.3 percentage points from 7.5% since 2016.
- Awareness of online services has increased. More than one in three patients (36.1%) are aware they can book appointments online, an increase of 3.8 percentage points from 32.3% since 2016. While a similar proportion (34.1%) are aware they can order repeat prescriptions online, an increase of 2.6 percentage points from 31.5% since 2016. Fewer patients (8.9%) are aware they can access medical records online, an increase of 3.2 percentage points from 5.7% since 2016. Fewer than five in ten patients (46.3%) are unsure whether these services are available at their GP surgery, while less than one in ten patients (8.6%) believe that none of these options are available.
- Use of online services is also increasing. Just over one in ten patients (11.8%) say they used online services in the last 6 months to order repeat prescriptions, an increase of 0.9 percentage points from 10.9% since 2016. While 8.9% say they used online services to book appointments, an increase of 1.0 percentage point from 7.9% since 2016. Very few patients (1.6%) say they used online services to access their medical records, an increase of 0.6 percentage points from 0.9% since 2016.
- Nearly two in three patients (64.2%) say they normally wait 15 minutes or less after their appointment time to be seen, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from 64.9% since 2016.
- More than half of all patients (57.7%) say ‘they don’t normally have to wait too long’ to be seen, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points since 2016.
Confidence and trust
- More than nine out of ten patients (91.9%) have confidence and trust in the last GP they saw, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from 92.2% since 2016.
- More than four out of five patients (84.5%) have confidence and trust in the last nurse they saw, a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from 84.6% since 2016.
- The majority of patients (86.5%) who tried to contact an out-of-hours NHS service when their GP surgery was closed say they had confidence and trust in the people they saw or spoke to comparable to 2016.
- Three in four patients (76.2%) are satisfied with their GP surgery opening hours, a decrease of 1.0 percentage point from 77.3% since 2016.
- Three in four patients (75.8%) say their GP surgery is open at times that are convenient for them, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points from 76.0% since 2016.
Managing your health
- Over half of all patients (53.5%) have one or more long standing health condition (LSHC), while 43.8% of patients say they do not have a LSHC and 2.7% say they ‘don’t know or can’t say’.
- The most commonly reported LSHCs are ‘high blood pressure’ (17.6%) or ‘arthritis or a long-term joint problem’ (12.2%).
- Of patients who say they have one or more LSHC, 63.3% say they had support from local services or organisations to help them manage their condition. While more than one in ten (12.7%) say they have not received enough support, and around one in five (21.2%) say they haven’t needed such support.
- Of all patients, more than nine out of ten (92.1%) say they are confident in managing their own health.
The survey asks patients about written care plans. It defines a care plan as a written document that acts as “an agreement between you and your health professional(s) to help you manage your day-to-day health”.
- In 2017, 3.2% of patients say they have a written care plan. A similar proportion say they do not know if they have a plan (3.7%). The vast majority of patients (93.1%) say they do not have a written care plan.
- Seven in ten patients (71.3%) who have a written care plan say they helped put their plan together.
- Of patients who have a written care plan, 67.2% say they use their plan to manage their day-to-day health.
- Of patients who have a written care plan, 57.7% say they regularly review their plan with their GP, nurse or another health professional.
NHS Dentistry results
- Results for questions in the GP Patient Survey relating to NHS dental services forms part of NHS England’s dental statistics