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NHS survey says nine out of 10 patients have ‘confidence and trust’ in their GP

Nine out of 10 patients have “confidence and trust” in their family doctor as well as other general practice staff such as nurses and pharmacists, according to new research published last week.

Patients rate their overall experience of their family doctor highly, with four out of five saying their GP treats them with “care and concern” and provides them with enough time to listen to their needs.

With patient choice a priority in the NHS Long Term Plan, nine out of 10 patients felt involved in decisions about their care, while four in five rated their overall experience of making a GP appointment as “good”, the GP patient survey shows.

Dr Nikita Kanani, acting director of primary care for NHS England, said: “Family doctors in England see nearly one million people every day and this survey shows they appreciate the fantastic job they do alongside other practice staff such as nurses and pharmacists.”

Dr Penny Morris, Medical Director at NHS Blackburn with Darwen Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “These are really positive and encouraging results and I would like to thank all of our GP colleagues across the two CCG areas for their hard work particularly given the increasing demand on their practices and the pressure they experience as GPs.

“GPs provide a vital, frontline service for patients. Whilst we are glad that our patients are telling us that they are very happy with certain aspects of their GP service, we are committed to improving our GP services even further and working on the areas that aren’t doing as well and seeing how we can make things better for patients.”

However, GPs continue to face pressure and increasing demand and while seven in 10 patients were satisfied with the appointment they were offered, some patients were waiting longer than they would have liked to see their GP.

Dr Mark Dziobon, Medical Director at NHS East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, added: “Many GP practices are coping with unprecedented pressure due to increased workload, increased demand and an ageing workforce. The CCGs both work very closely with their respective member GP practices and we do support them to work more collaboratively with other GP colleagues in the form of Primary Care Networks. These Networks are small groups of GP practices working together to support each other while offering a wider range of specialist care services to patients from a range of health professionals."

Dr Kanani will chair a new review of access to general practice across England this year. She said: “We will look at making improvements to pre-bookable and same day GP appointments, reviewing patient feedback on face-to-face and online consultations, delivering greater choice and access to appropriate care for patients.”

From 2021, all patients will also have a new right to access their general practice through video consultations.

Rising numbers of patients are booking online, with 14% using GP websites to get an appointment, up 2% on the previous year. The rise has come alongside growing awareness of the service with 44% knowing that they can book online, up 3%.

While patients’ overall satisfaction with the service they received from their practice has dipped slightly, the survey covers a period before the NHS fully rolled out evening and weekend GP appointments across the whole of England. These services are now providing nine million more appointments a year at times more convenient to patients and the survey shows patients are more aware of the availability of appointment times outside traditional hours.

The GP Patient Survey 2019 compiled responses from 770,512 people across the country on their experience of the services provided by GP practices, including access to GPs, making appointments, quality of care received from GPs and other health professionals, waiting times, and satisfaction with opening hours and out-of-hours NHS services.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • 82.9% described the overall experience of their GP practice as good
  • 67.4% of patients rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good
  • Of everyone who wanted a same day appointment, 62.1% got one
  • Of those who have a preferred GP, around half (40%) said that they see or speak to them always, almost always, or a lot of the time
  • 73.6% were satisfied with the appointment they were offered
  • 77% of patients who have tried to use their GP practice website found it easy to access information or services
  • 69.5% waited less than 15 minutes to be seen following their appointment time
  • Almost seven in ten patients (69,5%) reported a good experience of NHS services when they wanted to see a GP but their GP practice was closed
  • 91.1% of patients had confidence and trust in the people they saw or spoke to when their GP practice was closed