HEALTH

Let's Talk - - CONTENT -

Get­ting through to your GP

The pro­por­tion of peo­ple who find it easy to get through to their GP surgery on the phone is de­clin­ing.

New data from more than 800,000 pa­tients in Eng­land re­veals that some peo­ple still strug­gle to book ap­point­ments and fewer are see­ing their pre­ferred GP.

How­ever, over­all sat­is­fac­tion with GPs re­mains high, with 85% of peo­ple rat­ing their ex­pe­ri­ence as good.

Some 92% also had con­fi­dence and trust in the last GP they saw.

When asked how dif­fi­cult it is to get through to some­one at their GP surgery on the phone, 68% said it was easy, while 18% said it was not very easy and a fur­ther 10% said it was not at all easy.

This shows a de­cline on the pre­vi­ous year, when 70% found it easy. In 2012, 78% of peo­ple found it easy to get through on the phone.

Peo­ple were also asked how of­ten they see or speak to their pre­ferred GP, of which 383,770 peo­ple an­swered the ques­tion.

Of those, 56% see their pre­ferred GP al­ways or a lot of the time, down from 58% the pre­vi­ous year and 65% in 2012.

Al­most one in 10 pa­tients (9%) said they never or al­most never get to see the GP of their choice, down from 8% the pre­vi­ous year and 6% in 2012.

Of the 84% peo­ple who got an ap­point­ment the last time they tried, 38% got it on the same day, 10% the next work­ing day, 28% a few days later and a fifth waited a week or more, up slightly on last year.

But three-quar­ters of peo­ple (76%) are sat­is­fied with GP open­ing hours, with fewer than one in 10 fairly or very dis­sat­is­fied.

When it comes to us­ing NHS ser­vices when a GP surgery is closed, such as the 111 helpline or out-of-hours ser­vices, 66% said their last ex­pe­ri­ence was good, down slightly on the pre­vi­ous year, while 15% said it was poor.

Dr Arvind Madan, di­rec­tor of pri­mary care for NHS Eng­land, said: “Gen­eral prac­tice is the foun­da­tion of the NHS and this sur­vey shows pa­tients ap­pre­ci­ate the fan­tas­tic job GPs and the wider pri­mary care work force are do­ing in times of real pres­sure with more pa­tients hav­ing in­creas­ingly com­plex con­di­tions.

“Ac­cess to GPs is al­ready ex­pand­ing with 17 mil­lion peo­ple now able to get an ap­point­ment in the evening and at week­ends, and ev­ery­one will be able to by March 2019.”

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