Despite results showing 91% of patients were happy with their care, thousands of surgeries have lost funding based on the answers of a ‘tiny proportion of their practice’s population’, said GPC chairman Dr Laurence Buckman.
Some 84% of patients reported being seen on the same day or within the next two days, and 76% were able to book appointments ahead.
But in some cases ‘the answers of fewer than a couple of dozen patients will have led to a practice losing thousands of pounds’, said Dr Buckman.
‘Ironically this will make it harder for these surgeries to then improve their access, which is not going to benefit patients,’ he said.
Early analysis suggests that in some PCT areas up to 20% of practices will receive nothing for the question on advanced booking, because fewer than 60% of patients said they could do so.
The GPC has predicted ‘significant numbers’ of practices will face losses. GP newspaper reported recently that up to 40% of practices will appeal against the results of their patient surveys.
However, health minister Mike O’Brien defended the survey saying it was ‘one of the most valuable tools we have for measuring what patients think of their GP practice’.
He said practices should use the results to identify areas where patients were dissatisfied.
‘This year’s results show there is work to be done in improving telephone access and making it easier for patients to book appointments in advance,’ he said.
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