Letter: IPQ leads to improved service for patients

Dear Editor 

Your article 'Patient surveys are unreliable' is misleading and inaccurate.

Mr Hankins actually said in his presentation at the Society for Academic Primary Care conference that the surveys were 'lacking validity data' and 'reliability estimates'.

However, regarding the IPQ, he ignored some of the validity and reliability measurements and misunderstood one of the measures of construct validity.

Reliability of the instruments is not in question; only fine details of validation, like alterations to two items to meet the needs of the GMS contract. These are highly unlikely to render the surveys invalid.

CFEP UK Surveys will continue to adapt the IPQ in the light of experience.

The surveys have a strong qualitative aspect with demonstrable transferability.

Patients' comments are of equal importance to the survey scores and, together, these results are being translated into positive change for patients.

The issues he raises though will be of paramount importance to the new access and choice patient surveys for new GMS and for appraisal and revalidation (which CFEP is validating for the GMC).

Surveys that influence income and livelihood need to be as robust as the IPQ, and also to command GPs' confidence.

I would welcome Mr Hankins' comments on the academic merits of the design of the 'Your Say' online consultation and the national patient survey - these will place the rigour of the IPQ in its true perspective.

Dr David Jenner, Clinical director, CFEP UK Surveys.

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