Patients are happy with GP services

Darzi consultation finds that just 6 per cent of patients think GP skills need improving.

Patients in England are happy with the level of service provided by their GP, figures from an England-wide DoH public consultation have revealed.

Last month over 1,000 people, across nine SHA events throughout England, were asked about the service provided by their GP practice.

The results of the poll showed that patients believe that their GPs are well trained and that the services are provided in a clean environment.

Patients were asked how much improvement was needed and given answer options of lots, a fair amount, a little, none or don't know. Just 6 per cent of the patients who took the poll said that their GP's skills, which included communication, ability and effectiveness, needed a lot of improvement.

Nearly half of all patients, 48 per cent, felt that the length of consultation time with their GP was just right. Only 6 per cent felt that a lot of improvement was needed in this area.

The majority, 43 per cent, said that their practice environment needed no improvement at all.

Most patients, 42 per cent, were happy with the choice of GP offered by their practice. Just 10 per cent of patients wanted a much greater choice of GP.

Patients were also asked whether GP access had seen an improvement since the publication of Darzi's interim report in October.

Almost two thirds of patients, 63 per cent, in England said that access to GPs had not improved.

This is a similar response to that seen at the East Midlands SHA event in Nottingham where 66 per cent of patients said that they had not noticed any difference in GP opening hours (DoH questions 'skew access debate', GP, 1 February).

GPs have criticised the question for being unfair because no initiatives have been provided to fund extended hours or improve access nationally.

However, a DoH spokeswoman said that the question was designed to follow up the findings of the interim report.

'The question was designed to see how many PCTs and SHAs had implemented extended hours voluntarily,' she said.

The interim report revealed that 86 per cent of patients wanted GPs to open later in the evenings on weekdays and 84 per cent wanted GPs to open on Saturdays.

Lord Darzi will unveil his vision for the next decade of NHS care in England in June.

sanjay.tanday@haymarket.com

DoH Our NHS Our Future Report 2008

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