Exclusive: Top GP patient survey scores linked to higher funding, analysis reveals

GP practices with higher patient satisfaction scores receive significantly more funding on average than lower-performing practices, analysis by GPonline reveals.

GP consultation: higher funding link to increased patient satisfaction
GP consultation: higher funding link to increased patient satisfaction

Practices in the top third of a league table of overall patient satisfaction scores receive around £21 more funding per weighted patient on average than practices in the bottom third - equivalent to around 15% higher funding.

Practices in the top third of the table - ranked on the proportion of patients who rate their overall experience at their practice as 'good' - receive £155.78 on average, analysis by GPonline reveals. But practices in the bottom third receive just £134.98 on average (see chart).

Among GMS practices, the top third receive more than £27 more per weighted patient on average than practices in the bottom third, while for PMS practices, the funding gap is around £16 per weighted patient.

The analysis of official practice funding and patient survey data also revealed that APMS practices receive lower patient satisfaction scores on average than their GMS or PMS counterparts, despite higher average funding.

GP practice funding

GPC deputy chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said the investigation had produced a 'really important finding'.

'It fits with what you would expect - when you have more money, you can spend more time with patients,' he told GPonline. 'That's what patients want, and if you have increased resource you have greater capacity to do that.

'It just underlines the real need for the NHS to properly resource all practices - so that rather than taking money away from some to give to others, they level funding up. Practices should be receiving nearer £200 per patient to deliver the kind of services they expect.'

But even £200 per patient would not cover seven-day services, Dr Vautrey warned. 'General practice used to have around 10.5% of the NHS budget and now it's 7.5% - we have had a quarter of our funding taken away. To restore that level, we need to go nearer to £200 per patient, not £150.'

GP patient survey

GPonline reported this week that GP practices had maintained high patient satisfaction scores despite rising demand and a recruitment crisis.

But analysis of the results alongside data from the Health and Social Care Information Centre on practice funding per patient shows the extent to which patient satisfaction is dependent on funding.

The best-performing third of GMS practices on patient satisfaction receive £152.60 per patient on average, while the worst-performing third receive just £125.17. GMS practices in the middle third for overall patient experience scores receive £135.26.

Among PMS practices, a similar trend emerges, with the top third for patient experience receiving £156.89, the middle third £145.24 and the bottom third £140.31.

The average proportion of APMS practices who rate their practice good is 80% - 5 percentage points below the overall average - despite the fact that these practices receive average funding of more than £177 per weighted patient, compared with around £140 for all practices.

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