Practice survey results point to lower scores for 2009/10

Results of the third quarterly patient survey for 2009/10 suggest GP practice scores are likely to fall this year.

After three quarterly surveys, results that inform PE7 and PE8 sections of the QOF are lower than the disastrous 2008/9 results, in which thousands of practices lost money.

But losses may not be as severe this year as the thresholds of the patient experience indicators will be lowered if practices hit their swine flu vaccination targets.

Practices must vaccinate 50.7% of their ‘at-risk' patients to have their patient experience thresholds lowered. In January, just 39% of at-risk patients in England had been vaccinated, but more recent figures from Scotland suggest 51% have received the vaccine there.

In the third quarter of the 2009/10 survey, 80% of patients were able to see a GP within 48 hours, down slightly from 84% in 2008/9.

71% of patients were able to book ahead for an appointment, compared to 76% in 2008/9.

Like previous years, overall satisfaction with general practice remains extremely high.

Results show 90% of patients reported that they were either ‘very satisfied' or ‘fairly satisfied' with the overall care they receive at their surgery.

Figures are likely to fluctuate when the results of the final quarter are added, the DoH said.

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