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GP patient experience ‘down on last year’

13 December 2012

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Patients are unhappier with their overall general practice experience and access than this time last year, a DH-led survey shows.

The 2012-13 GP Patient Survey conducted by Ipsos-MORI found 87.6% of patients rate their overall experience of their GP as ‘good’ – down 0.7% on 2011-12 findings.

Similarly, more than three-quarters of patients polled rated their overall experience of making GP appointments as ‘good’ – down 1.3% on results gathered 12 months ago – and 80.5% said they were ‘satisfied’ with their GP surgery opening times, a fall of 0.5%.

Health Minister Lord Howe said the move to online GP appointment bookings, repeat prescriptions and communication under the NHS Mandate will help patients better manage their health and care.

While more than nine in ten (92.8%) of patients said they had confidence and trust in their GP, this is also down on last year by 0.2%.

However, the number of people with a long term condition (LTC) that felt supported by local health services to help them manage their condition (64.1%) has remained stable this year.
Yet, less LTC sufferers have confidence in managing their own health in 2012.
“The vast majority of patients continue to rate their experience of visiting their GP practice as good or very good – but we want this to improve,” said Lord Howe.

“Making sure care given to patients with long-term conditions is world class is vital. This is precisely why we have proposed changes to the GP contract to make sure GPs think more about long term, integrated care for these patients.”

More than seven in ten (70.8%) patients surveyed described their experience of out-of-hours GP services as ‘good’- down 0.1% on 2011-12 findings, however, confidence in out-of-hours clinicians has remained stable at 81.8%.

“We want GPs to look at this information to see what is most important to patients to help them make the improvements that patients really want to see,” said Lord Howe.