GP Patient Survey 2018

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.

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 2.2 million postal questionnaires sent out to adults registered with GP practices in England from January 2018 to the end of March 2018. Over 750,000 patients completed and returned a questionnaire, resulting in a national response rate of 34.1%.

Summary of key headlines

A summary of some of the key headlines from the 2018 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:

Please note that on 20 August 2018, minor wording changes were made to the National report (slides 7 and 33) and the National infographic.

Changes to the survey

In 2018, two key changes were made to the GP Patient Survey:

  • The content of the GPPS questionnaire was changed significantly to reflect changes in the delivery of primary care services in England.
  • The sample frame was extended to include 16-17 year olds for the first time to improve the inclusivity of the survey.

These changes meant that it was necessary to consider the likely impact on comparisons of survey estimates when looking at trend data. This was assessed through a two-stage analysis, reflecting each of the changes:

  • Analysis 1: questionnaire – to identify whether context effects influenced response to questions that have remained unchanged or are only subject to minor change.
  • Analysis 2: sample – to identify whether the inclusion of 16-17 year olds impacted on the results for the youngest age group, now 16-24.

In combination, these analyses suggest that comparisons with previous years would be unreliable for the majority of questions at national level (and for all questions at CCG and practice level), even where question wording remains similar, and have informed the decision not to present trend data in the GP Patient Survey outputs for the 2018 publication.

Due to the extent of the loss of comparability, the limited trend data available will not be presented in the 2018 published reports. Documentation detailing the analysis undertaken on a question by question basis is available here.

We have also used this break in trends as an opportunity to present the results in a different way:

  • Where appropriate, when calculating percentages we now exclude ‘non- specific’ answers that do not pertain to the quality of the experience, such as ‘Don’t know,’ ‘Can’t remember,’ or ‘Haven’t tried. This provides a fairer and more accurate measure of performance. Where relevant, the ‘non-specific’ response has been reported in the brief and the National Summary Report.

Further detail can be found in the Technical Annex and the Questionnaire Development Report, available from the GP Patient Survey website.

Overall Experience

  • The majority of individuals (83.8%) rated their overall experience of their GP practice as good, with more than two in five (46.2%) rating their experience as ‘very good’.
  • Almost seven in ten patients (68.6%) rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good, with three in ten saying it was ‘very good’ (30.0%).
  • Around one in five patients (21.6%) say they tried to contact an NHS service in the past 12 months when they wanted to see a GP but their GP practice was closed, either for themselves or for someone else. Of these, almost seven in ten (68.7%) rated their overall experience of these services as good, with around three in ten saying it was ‘very good’.


  • Of patients who had tried, seven in ten patients (70.3%) say it was easy to get through to their GP practice on the phone
  • The majority of patients (89.6%) say the receptionists at their GP practice were helpful.
  • Just under two thirds of patients (65.9%) were satisfied with the appointment times available to them.
  • Over half of all patients (53.7%) have a GP they prefer to see, with one in two patients who have a preferred GP saying they saw them always, almost always or a lot of the time (50.2%).

Online GP services

  • The majority of patients (78.5%) in the past 12 months of completing the survey booked an appointment over the phone. While over two in five (42.0%) booked in person, and one in ten (10.0%) booked online (including on an app).
  • Two in five patients (40.6%) were aware they could book appointments online; while similar proportions (37.9%) were aware they could order repeat prescriptions online. Fewer patients (12.7%) were aware they could access medical records online. Just over two in five patients (42.5%) were unsure whether these services were available at their GP practice, while less than one in ten patients (8.1%) believe that none of these options were available.
  • One in seven patients (14.3%) said they’d used online services in the last 12 months to order repeat prescriptions. While one in eight patients (12.9%) say they used online services to book appointments. Fewer patients (3.3%) say they used online services to access their medical records in the past 12 months.
  • Of patients who had tried, around four in five (78.3%) found their GP practice website easy to use.


  • Over six in ten patients (62.3%) were offered a choice of appointment (choice of time/day, location, or healthcare professional).
  • Around three in four patients (74.4%) were satisfied with the appointment they were offered last time they tried to make one.
  • Overall, most patients (94.2%) say they accepted the appointment they were offered.

Last Appointment

  • Around seven in ten patients (69.0%) waited 15 minutes or less after their appointment time to be seen.
  • Over nine in ten patients (93.5%) felt involved in decisions about their care and treatment.
  • Just under nine in ten patients (87.0%) felt the healthcare professional recognised or understood their mental health needs.
  • Most patients (95.6%) had confidence and trust in the healthcare professional they saw.
  • Most patients (94.8%) felt their needs were met during their last appointment.

Your Health

  • Over half of all patients (52.2%) said they had one or more long-term physical or mental health conditions, disabilities or illnesses, 45.8% of patients said they have none of these, and 2.0% preferred not to say.
  • The most commonly reported conditions, disabilities or illnesses are ‘Arthritis or ongoing problem with back or joints’ (18.8%) and ‘High blood pressure’ (17.1%).
  • Of patients who said they have one or more long-term conditions, 79.4% say they had support from local services or organisations to help them manage their condition(s).
  • Over eight in ten patients (83.9%) with a long term condition felt confident they could manage any issues arising from their condition(s).
  • Of patients who say they had a long-term condition, 39.6% have had a conversation with a healthcare professional about what is important to them when managing their condition(s). Of these patients, 60.4% had agreed a plan with a healthcare professional to manage their condition(s), and over nine in ten (94.4%) found this plan (very or fairly) helpful in managing their condition(s).

When your GP practice is closed

  • Just over one in five patients (21.6%) had contacted an NHS service when their GP practice was closed.
  • Around two in three patients (65.0%) thought the time taken to receive care or advice on this occasion was about right.
  • Over nine in ten patients (91.2%) had confidence and trust in the people they saw or spoke to on this occasion.

NHS Dentistry results

  • Results for questions in the GP Patient Survey relating to NHS dental services forms part of NHS England’s dental statistics.

Supporting documentation