GP Access

There has been a few posts recently about GP access, and we are all jealous of jeanjeannie I know :) but thought I would do some digging around for stats on GPs and GP surgeries.

There is a nationwide survey, you can find it here

It has been running for a few years now and measures changes in patient views of their GPs, for example, 84.7% of patients say they can get an appointment when they want one (really?) but this has gone down over the last few years from 87.6%

I find that one really hard to swallow, so looked up my own practice, 97% say the last appointment they got was convinient....

To my knowledge they never asked me for the survey, 97%.... what have I done wrong then, or does my face/voice just not fit? Then look at the detail, 275 surveys sent out, and only 113 returned, so it would appear that only satisifed patients returned their surveys, at least that's my guess.

It's a pity that they do not breakdown the stats by geographical area, perhaps that would tell a story, but possibly more worrying, given the plethora of stories on here about GP experiences, and getting appointments, THESE are the stats that the government is using to make investment decisions.

Now I am worried.

OK statisticians and those of more brain than I, do tell me what I am missing.

Be well


11 Replies

  • Ian I did the survey because I am a member of my surgery's Patient Liaison Committee so get copied in all of these types of posts which usually come through social media and NHS internal mailing lists and associated organisations.

    Our surgery is very proactive but I don't think this was widely circulated outside of these circles but I do know that a few patients from the surgery were asked to complete. I don't know if this was a specific sample or random but will ask at our next meeting. What is that saying about statistics and damned lies?

  • That's exactly my fear, if they are only circulating the survey to those they know are likely to give them a good report, then the stats will be diabolically wrong.

    We see here, and in the press, constant complaints about GP access, but the official nationwide survey gives them a clean bill of health?

    As you say lies, damned lies, and statistics.


  • One of the things we as volunteers do is to go up to patients in the waiting room and ask them to complete what is called a Firends and Family survey which our CCG demands all surgeries do. The staff were all completely fed up doing this as it asks 3 very basic questions, would you be prepared to recommend this surgery to friends and family but we take the opportunity to expand on this and write down other comments. The biggest negative was not being able to get an appointment with their 'own' GP unless you booked in weeks in advance, not being able to get through on the telephone to book an emergency appointment and parking.

    If that was anything to go by I would say the satisfaction rate was more like 50% and that was only a survey of those who were in the waiting room so obviously HAD got appointments.

  • Ian

    There seems to be really good information on the credentials and independence of the market research companies undertaking the research on the link you attached. They survey 850,000 annually by post; by my rough reckoning only a one in 70 people per annum or once in 70 years chance of being asked but a robust sample size. The distribution of surveys will be designed to provide a representative sample of the population.


  • Ian that is not the survey that I completed - unfortunately I cannot post a link. Yours was a MORI poll by the NHS whilst ours was one by CFEP and has confidentiality clauses so I cannot post a link.

    I can say that our overall result was 87% satisfaction rate whilst to see practitioner of choice was 48% and waiting time was 53%. The outcomes had to be discussed and another form filled out by the practice listing what the practice would take and improve from the survey and was to be retained for the CCG.

    Our practice on your survey said

    '68% of respondents with a preferred GP usually get to see or speak to that GP'

    '91% of respondents were able to get an appointment to see or speak to someone the last time they tried'. There was no comment on waiting time.

    The MORI survey had a respondent rate of 58%.

    Difficult to compare when the questions asked were so different.

    Don't know if that sheds anymore light on the subject?

  • Ian, I have to say that my experience at my local surgery is similar to Jeanjeannie's.

    The phone line opens at 8am and at the same time a number of appointments are released online. You have to be quick but I have never had a problem using the online method when I wanted a same day appt. This is a busy popular surgery as well.


  • I have had a nightmare lately, here in Wales, trying to get appointments. I had a lot of bloods done a few weeks ago and when I rang to ask if I could see my GP to discuss them with him I was told the doctor had read them and had put "no further action needed" even though I wanted to discuss where we go from here with him due to my constant tiredness. We have a triage system in place now, no pre-bookable appointments available anymore! You can ring for an appointment in the morning via triage and then and only then the doctor can request to see you if needs be (Think that should be the other way round)! We used to be able to get a call back from the GP but that has also been stopped. There are a few surgery using this new method in my area, it's making me feel very stressed knowing I can't get to see a GP when feeling ill.

    Also wanted to ask if anyone knows if the Welsh government has done a similar GP/Patient survey.

  • Each time I have visited my surgery I receive a text message to respond to a questionare about the service I received that day and wether I would recommend the surgery I have never responded to this text Perhaps I should

  • Thank you for posting the link Ian. I see my GP practice did very well in the survey. I would have done a glowing one for them, but like you have never been asked. It's certainly strange that we were not aware of this information on the internet.

    CQC reports are interesting too, type in CQC inspection report and the name of your surgery and see what comes up about what was found when they were last inspected.


  • Thank you good call jeanjennie, mine were last inspected in May 16 so very recently. Not seen this before.


  • My surgery were rated 'outstanding' in their report and as I've said earlier I can understand why. I used to help run a really nice nursing home (all the office work) and had a lot of dealings with the CQC. They also inspect hospitals.


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