GPs face expanded patient survey next year

Patients will be asked more detailed questions about their practice in the 2008/9 GP Patient Survey than previous years, including whether they are satisfied with the care that they receive and whether reception staff are helpful.

Patient survey (Photograph: iStockPhoto)

Guidance issued by the DoH to strategic health authorities, PCTs and practices says that the survey, which will cost around £8m to run this year, has been expanded to cover issues identified as important to patients.

The survey will include questions on:

  • Aspects of the surgery environment and helpfulness of reception staff
  • Getting through on the phone for either an appointment or to receive test results
  • Accessing GP appointments, which will be used to assess QOF achievement on access
  • Waiting times in the surgery
  • Seeing a preferred doctor
  • Satisfaction with opening hours
  • Aspects of the consultation with doctors and nurses
  • Overall satisfaction with care received.

Additional questions will cover planning of care for patients with long-term conditions and patients' experience of accessing out-of-hours care.

The questionnaire is to be sent out to 5.7 million patients by post in early January and will cover every practice in England, bar a small number that have been excluded because they provide specialist services. The results should be available from 8 May.

The survey will be carried out by Ipsos MORI, which developed the questionnaire in partnership with the National Primary Research and Development Centre at the University of Manchester and the Peninsular Medical School at the University of Exeter.

It will run for the next three years and will be conducted every quarter from 2009/10.

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