As the NHS treats more patients than ever before, a new nationwide survey shows the majority of people are positive about their GP care – with almost 85 per cent rating their overall experience of their GP surgery as good.
The GP Patient Survey 2017 compiled responses from more than 800,000 people across the country on their experience of healthcare services provided by GP surgeries, including access to GPs, making appointments, the quality of care received from GPs and practice nurses, satisfaction with opening hours and out-of-hours NHS services.
The majority of patients (84.3%) say they were able to get an appointment the last time they tried and around seven in ten patients (68%) say it is very or fairly easy to get through to someone at their GP surgery on the phone.
The survey found that confidence and trust in GPs remains extremely high at 91.9%, while almost three in four patients (77.4%) would recommend their GP surgery to someone who has just moved to the local area and 72.7% of patients rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good.
There has also been a marked improvement in the awareness of online GP services, with more patients saying they are aware of how to book appointments (up 3.8% on last year to 36.1%), ordering repeat prescriptions (up 2.6% to 34.1%) and access to medical records (up to 8.9%).
However, it also suggests areas for improvement, with one in ten patients (11.3%) saying they weren’t able to get an appointment – an increase of 0.5% on the 10.7% in 2016. And the number of patients reporting they can usually see their preferred GP dropping to 46.2% – down by 2.4% on last year.
Dr Arvind Madan, Director of Primary Care for NHS England, said: “General Practice is the foundation of the NHS and this survey shows patients appreciate the fantastic job GPs and the wider primary care work force are doing in times of real pressure with more patients having increasingly complex conditions
“The findings also reinforce the case for investing in and strengthening primary care. We are just a year into the General Practice Forward View, a five year plan committed to increasing investment in improving services culminating in an extra £2.4 billion a year by 2020/21 to support primary care that will stabilise and transform general practice, manage demand on services and expand the workforce.
“Access to GPs is already expanding with 17 million people now able to get an appointment in the evening and at weekends, and everyone will be able to by March 2019.”
The Next Steps on the Five Year Forward View document published in March 2017 includes key commitments to general practice: