GPs trusted by vast majority of patients

GP patient survey results that show 92% of patients trust their doctor have been welcomed by GP leaders as testament to the profession's hard work.

GPs are trusted by 92% of patients

But slight falls in patients' ratings for overall experience of general practice, appointment booking and satisfaction with out-of-hours services may reflect rising pressure on primary care, the GPC warned.

RCGP chairwoman Dr Maureen Baker said: ‘Despite increasing workloads and diminishing resources, GPs are still the most trusted professionals in the NHS by the people who matter most - our patients.'

‘It is a huge vote of confidence from our patients, that such a high percentage are reporting positive experiences at their GP surgery, with 92% saying they have confidence and trust in their GP and 86% rating their surgery "very" or "fairly" good.’

GPC chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul said it was important to recognise the figures were ‘remarkably good’ and a patient endorsement of general practice, but called for more funding for GPs to maintain high standards.

But, he said, the small falls in ratings came at a time of ‘inordinate pressures’ on GPs, with year-on-year increases in workload and demand.

‘In the context of those pressures it is remarkable that these figures have largely remained static with very small percentage changes.’

Dr Baker said RCGP members had predicted increased waiting times over the next two years due to funding cuts, and that GPs were working longer hours than ever.

She said: ‘90% of NHS patient contacts are made in general practice yet NHS funding for general practice is a mere 8.39% of the overall budget – the lowest on record. This must be addressed and the college is calling for a small increase in funding to 11% by 2017.’

The latest survey, carried out by Ipsos Mori on behalf of NHS England, shows results collected from January to March, and July to September 2013.

The overall response rate for the survey was 35%, based on 943,138 responses across two aggregated waves.

GP patient survey findings

  • 86.2% of patients rate their overall experience of their GP practice as good, a decrease of 1.4 percentage points since the results published in December 2012.
  • 75.5% of patients rate their overall experience of making an appointment as good, a decrease of 2.4 percentage points since December 2012.
  • 92.2% of patients find making an appointment convenient, a decrease of 0.2 percentage points since December 2012.
  • 73.9% of patients find that it is easy to get through to their GP surgery on the phone, a decrease of 2.7 percentage points since the results published in December 2012.
  • 78.6% of patients are satisfied with their GP surgery opening hours, a decrease of 1.8 percentage points since the results published in December 2012.
  • 67.5% of patients describe their overall experience of out-of-hours GP services as good, a decrease of 3.3 percentage points since the results published in December 2012.

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