GPs maintain high patient satisfaction despite rising pressure

GP practices are maintaining high rates of patient satisfaction despite the growing crisis in the profession, latest data from NHS patient surveys show.

A total of 84.9% of patients rate their overall experience of their GP services as 'good, with around half of these rating it 'very good'. More than 1,000 GP practices in England were rated good overall by 95% or more of their patient population.

GP leaders said the findings showed 'extraordinary' performance in general practice, but warned that practices are increasingly struggling to maintain existing services in the face of underfunding, falling staff numbers and rising demand.

Despite the overall high rating for general practice, official data show a steady decline in patient satisfaction over the past five years. The proportion of patients rating their GP services as good overall has fallen just 0.3 percentage points since figures published in early 2015, but in 2011, 88% of patients rated their GP services as good - 3 percentage points higher than the current level.

GP patient satisfaction

'These figures demonstrate that there is still overwhelming satisfaction with GP services, with more than eight out of 10 patients reporting a good experience with their local GP and four out of 10 saying they would class it as very good,' GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul told GPonline. 'Nine in 10 have confidence in their GP and the vast majority would recommend their practice.'

'This is quite extraordinary feedback given the unprecedented pressures on general practice of soaring workload, falling resources and staff shortages. GPs are working harder than ever before to deliver the best for their patients, but providing care in this climate is not sustainable. Many GP practices are struggling just to maintain existing services. The government needs to provide general practice with the resources, staff and support it needs to continue to deliver high quality care to patients.'

Findings from the survey also showed a rise in patients using online services to access their GP, and a rise in awareness of these services.

Key findings from the survey:

  • 84.9% rate their overall experience of their GP surgery as good.
  • 77.7% say they would recommend their GP surgery to someone who has just moved into their local area.
  • 73.3% rate their overall experience of making an appointment as good.
  • 70.4% say it is easy to get through to their GP surgery on the phone.
  • 87.0% say the receptionists at their GP surgery are helpful.
  • 85.0% say they were able to get an appointment to see or speak to someone the last time they tried.

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