Patient surveys 'flawed and will mislead GPs'

The GP Patient Experience Survey launched today is flawed and will end up misleading patients and GPs, according to the BMA.

Photograph: JH Lancy
Photograph: JH Lancy

Five million patients will be sent the surveys and the answers are worth £8,000 to the average practice.

23.5 points are available if more than 70% of patients are able to obtain a consultation with a GP within two working days.

35 points are available if more than 60% are able to book an appointment with a GP more than two days in advance.

However GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman has criticised the survey for England and Northern Ireland which replaces the practice-based, local patient surveys in the quality framework.

He said: ‘We are very concerned that the changes mean we won’t be able to draw any meaningful comparison with previous years’ results, so no-one will truly know if the service has improved or got worse.

‘It is also a shame that the government has discontinued the practice-based patient survey which was given to patients immediately after a visit to the practice.

‘This gave very accurate patient feedback about the quality of consultation with the GP or nurse, something the new survey will fail to do.

‘It can be very difficult trying to remember how you felt about a consultation which took place six months ago. It means the results of the new postal survey may not give the true picture of GP services.’

neil.durham@haymarket.com

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