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Patients to rate access to GP practices in real time

by Caitlin Tilley
14 October 2021

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Patients will rate GP practices in ‘real time’ via text message on how satisfied they are with their access to care, the results of which will be published next year, NHS England announced today.

NHS Digital will also be publishing practice-level GP appointment data and waiting times by spring next year, which will include the ‘proportions of appointment by different professions’ and whether appointments are face-to-face or remote.

NHS England said it wants to ‘increase its oversight of practices with the most acute issues in relation to access’. Currently, monthly appointment data is only published by CCGs.

Patients will receive text messages as they finish their consultation asking questions about their experience of accessing support.

NHS England said the survey, which is being piloted in around 60 practices and will be rolled out next year, has been ‘previously agreed with the profession’.

The PCN Investment and Impact Fund (IIF) will also incentivise patient satisfaction for 2022/23. 

The scale of incentives will increase in 2023/24 in line with the planned GP contract envelope, when the money aimed at improving access will rise to at least £100m of the £300m fund. 

Meanwhile, commissioners have been told to immediately begin identifying the 20% of practices in their area that are performing worst in terms of delivering face-to-face appointments.

Practices with the lowest face-to-face appointment levels may be forced to partner with other practices or face contractual action from commissioners.

It follows months of lobbying from sections of the media for practices to see patients face to face, while health secretary Sajid Javid said it was ‘high time’ GPs offer more face-to-face appointments.

Healthwatch and the CQC have recorded growing numbers of complaints about patient inability to see a GP face to face, appointment availability and waiting times.

This story first appeared on our sister title, Pulse.