Most patients keen to provide GPs with feedback but unsure how to do so

Three-quarters of patients in England are interested in sharing feedback with their GP to improve services, but only 23% have ever actually done so, according to a survey by Healthwatch England.

The survey of over 1,800 adults, which was carried out by YouGov, found the most common reason why patients did not provide feedback was that they were unsure how to pass on comments or raise concerns.

Among those who had given feedback to their practice the most popular way to do so was via a comment box (44%), followed by face-to-face feedback to reception staff (18%) and the GP (16%).

Healthwatch England also asked those who had never provided feedback which methods would encourage them to do so in future. Some 30% said they were most likely to respond to text or email follow-ups after a consultation, with 28% opting for a comments box.

Social media was the least popular way to give feedback, with just 3% of those who had provided feedback doing so via this method and only 12% of those interested in doing so in the future saying they would consider providing comments on social media.

Patient feedback

The survey was conducted to coincide with a Healthwatch England campaign to encourage GP practices to be open to patient feedback and to listen to patients' views.

Imelda Redmond, national director of Healthwatch England, said: ‘Up and down the country it is clear that people value their local doctors’ surgeries and can see the pressure they are under. It is also clear they want to do their bit to help by sharing their experiences.

‘People tell us they want providing feedback to be simple, clear and confidential. Healthwatch is here to help busy surgeries not only improve how they seek feedback but also help GPs and practice managers explain how this insight is being used to give people the care they want.’

GPC chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘GPs value the daily feedback they receive from their patients in consultations and comments provided in the surgery. We particularly value the support of patients in working with us to highlight the impact of years of restricted funding on general practice and the wider NHS.’

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