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GP Patient Survey reveals majority are satisfied

16 December 2011

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Nearly nine in ten patients in England have had a good overall experience of their GP surgery, results of the government’s GP Patient Survey, published yesterday (15 December 2011) reveal.

The Ipsos MORI survey, based on more than 530,000 completed responses, showed highly positive results for GP practices, with four in five (82%) of patients saying they would “definitely” recommend their surgery.

However, the results were not all positive. Almost one in five (18%) patients say it is not easy to get through to their GP on the phone, and a quarter of patients report being unhappy that other patients can overhear their conversations with the surgery’s receptionist.

The finding suggests practices may need to consider implications of patient confidentiality in such circumstances.

Due to a change in the survey’s ‘weighting scheme’ – which now consider neighbourhood statistics such as ethnicity and deprivation, for example – and the change to a twice-yearly survey, the results cannot be directly compared to GP patient surveys of previous years, even where questions remain the same.

However, as with previous surveys the results show that patients are overwhelmingly very positive about their experiences with practice health professionals – 93% of patients said they have trust and confidence in their GP, and 86% said the same of their practice nurse. Just 4% do not trust their GP and just 2% do not trust their nurse.

Over half of patients (56%) have a preferred GP – two-fifths (42%) say do not have a preference. Of those who have a preferred GP, two fifths (42%) “always or almost always” get to see them. Few patients (just 6%) “never or almost never” get to see their preferred GP.

Four-fifths of patients (79%) say that their overall experience of making an appointment was good, with over a third (37%) saying it was “very” good. Few (just 8%) patients describe their experience as poor.

Furthermore, more than eight in ten patients (81%) said they were satisfied with their surgery’s opening times – just 7% were dissatisfied.