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NHS Choices (England) - Chosing a GP Surgery

NHS Choices (England) - Chosing a GP Surgery

I've just changed GP and found the NHS Choices England site really helpful. Here you can look up surgeries near your postcode and you can check out the star ratings: 1 - 5 and the patient reviews.

My new surgery wins 5*s and the patient reviews are all positive. Having had an appointment with my new GP Friday I shall add another positive review.

The reception staff were friendly and helpful. The waiting room was bright and airy with just a few people waiting for appointments. There was a toy area, lots of helpful leaflets and notices, information about services available each week such as alcohol counselling and healthy eating. The waiting room had double french windows looking on to a beautiful walled garden with trees, fruits and flowers. Patients could wait there and the doctor would come and get them from the garden. The garden is tended by volunteer patients at their Gardening Club which takes place on a Tuesday and you can pick up fresh produce from the garden in exchange for a donation towards the cost of tending the garden.

This surgery gets my 5* rating.

What makes an ideal GP service for you?

8 Replies

Hi Annie

I am delighted that you have found such a good new surgery but would suggest to others that caution is need when looking at the reviews on NHS Choices. I looked up my local surgeries and found that the feedback was meaningless as so few patients had completed the poll. I also think there is a danger that disproportionate numbers of patients with grievances may complete the poll. However, I am glad that this resource has worked well for you. The garden looks lovely.

Best wishes, Ann

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Those are very good points Ann. I did note how many votes there had been for each surgery and some only had 1 so it wasn't much of a recommendation. I agree too about it being a platform for grudges but hopefully in reading the posts the truth comes out. The ticks for various services were helpful - online booking, in-house pharmacy.

As always caveat emptor but a useful resource if used with caution as you say. xxxx


Hi Annie

Glad you've found a good GP, it's always a relief, I know how good mine is(despite not diagnosing me sooner) especially after reading about other people's problems!

Good to see your picture back again too!

Love Chris


Dear Chris

Target offer free online training in diagnosing Ovarian Cancer symptoms. Perhaps you could discretely leave a leaflet in your surgery!!!??? To be fair it is just about impossible to diagnose until things get too late. Some are lucky having a secondary problem that is treated and the doctors stumble on OvCa in the early stages before it gets too late to treat.

I do feel a bit better having my picture again. Last week was very topsy turvey and I missed you all like mad! xxxx Love Annie


To be honest Annie, I guess I have always been a typical 'bloke' when it comes to visiting the GP, rarely going at all. For me then, the most important thing would probably be the ability to see a doctor when I need to without having to wait days for an appointment. The logic being, that if I say I want to see a doctor, it is because I really need to. Having said that, since Angie's diagnosis, the doctor/patient relationship is now much more important than any thing else. It's funny, in our practice there are three doctors and when a patient makes an appointment it could be any one of them that is seen. Some people have preferences and are prepared to wait longer to see a specific doctor. We are fortunate in that the GP we prefer is not the first choice for most people. For us though, the way he has interacted with Angie, once he became aware of her situation, has been excellent. She almost has an open invitation to see him without a formal appointment. She goes to the surgery and if he's there he will invariably see her the same day. He is no expert with OC, but he was more aware of the symptoms than his partners and it was him who finally fast tracked Angie to the hospital. He is always interested in what she has to say and so far has been more than helpful. I don't think Angie would see any of the others now, even if she was paid.

I don't know what the NHS choices website has to say about the practice, but even if negative on the whole, our new found trust in our GP is priceless.

Andy x

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Dear Andy

It was interesting to read your experience of GPs in England. The care I received from the two GP practices I attended in the 39 years I lived in Wales was exceptional. I must be a 'typical bloke' too (lol) because if I rocked up to my GP they'd take notice. I recently had a print out of my records since 1975. The first 30 years were listed on one sheet. The last 2 years took up a wad of paper!

My GP practice in Mid Wales was the best ever. They ran the cottage hospital so GPs carried out minor ops and delivered babies. They also covered out-of-hours house calls. Alas most of us have lost that individual care. One thing I would argue for today is being able to see a named doctor. I was shocked when I attended a seminar in London to to hear that generally in England people don't have a choice of doctor. One practice I nearly joined in London had a system where you filled in an online form and 'a doctor' rang you. Patients had absolutely no choice as to who they saw.

My first visit to my new GP in London was a very positive experience. He said he didn't know much about cancer but at this stage in my journey that doesn't matter much. The oncologist has become more important than the GP. He was very caring and looked at lifestyle, where I was living, did I have support, etc. In return I gave him my Target leaflet which describes symptoms in detail, the Target newsletter which mentions online GP training and I left a pile of Ovacome BEAT cards in the surgery for patients.

I developed a trusting relationship with my GP in Wales over 22 years. He took my visit seriously when I saw him in March 2011. All I said was, 'Something is wrong and I think I need some tests; and I'm also not hungry which has never happened before'. He told me he didn't know what the problem was but we'd work together to sort it out. Within three weeks I was referred to a gynaecologist. I've heard tales of so many other women being turned away when they visited their GP with similar symptoms to mine and being dismissed as having IBS or just making a fuss. We do have complex drainage so any gynae issue should be treated seriously in my opinion.

I don't insist on 'my' GP for general things. I suffer with blepharitis which is particularly bad during chemotherapy. Anyone can give me the prescription for that. In my old practice I could have an appointment the same day with one of the doctors or the practice nurse if I thought something was urgent - though I never needed that service. If I felt it was something I'd prefer to talk about with my own GP I could do so within a day or so. He was particularly knowledgeable about cancer and could often explain things that the oncologist didn't and that has been helpful.

I baked a cake for my former GP in Wales to say goodbye and a thank you for everything. He told me to call and see him from time-to-time even if I don't feel unwell as he'd like to know how I get on in London. How lovely is that!

If you look at Ann's post it mentions the NHS Choices reviews aren't good because not enough people are completing them. It would help everyone if people would rate their GP in England. Sadly for the people in Wales this wonderful opportunity is not available. Make the most of it peeps in England!

It's really lovely to exchange views and news again now the site is (sort of) up and running. Just hoping to get email notifications soon as I've missed them.

with best wishes. Annie xxx


We are fortunate that our town 2 surgeries have just relocated into a brand spanking new development which opened last week. The build boasts everything under one roof including a pharmacy.

Regarding diagnosis, Sandra,s only symptom was a lump in her groin. Her GP presumed an hernia and she was referred to a specialist who confirmed diagnosis. Luckily he was able to book her in for the repair rather quickly to discover during keyhole surgery it was in fact a tumour. What was brilliant was the fact the surgeon chose tok remove the tumour and arrange immediate scan there and then. He could quite easily left the tumour, stitch her back up and refer her to an oncologist. We congratulate him on his expert decision. Love to everyone Paul xx


That sounds like good multi-tasking on the part of the surgeon. I think this is the way new surgical techniques are going - not to specialise in abdo, gynae, etc but to develop expertise in related surgery. That avoids having the trouble and cost associated with getting in a second or third surgeon to do the non-gynae bits needed to treat ovarian cancer. x A


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