GP leaders condemn ‘biased' patient survey

The GPC has condemned the new patient experience survey, claiming ministers added ‘biased' questions to the original document.

Patricia Hewitt
Patricia Hewitt

This survey could be worth more than £8,000 to the average practice under the directed enhanced service for improving access.

But the GPC believes the extra questions have the potential to bias the response of patients to the whole survey.
GPC chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said the government had imposed the additional questions without agreement: ‘The questions ask patients if they are satisfied with arrangements for early morning, evening and weekend surgeries at a time when the government is not prepared to provide GP practices with the resources to open at these times, all of which are outside GPs’ agreed contractual hours.

‘The patient experience survey is in our view totally discredited. GPs will continue to consult their patients about their views on the services they provide, but using a survey containing leading questions, putting words in patients’ mouths, and falsely raising expectations, is not the way to do it’.

The DoH said the survey, which will be posted to more than five million patients in January, had not yet been finalised.
Health secretary Patricia Hewitt said: ‘We have invested generously in the new contract for GPs. We need now to make sure practices are responding to patient views on access.’

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