Surgeries ranked in new NHS England survey
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Are you getting the best healthcare available, or is your doctors’ surgery not performing as well as it should? North Somerset’s surgeries have been ranked in NHS England’s GP Patient Survey 2017, with patients having their say on their healthcare services. Times reporter Sam Frost has sifted through the data to identify the key issues concerning patients.
NHS England canvassed patients from January to March, asking a range on questions linked to the performance of their GP surgery.
From the survey results, the Times filtered through the data to select five key categories covering confidence and trust in medical professionals, waiting times and appointment availability at the nine surgeries in the Times patch.
The vast majority of patients were able to get an appointment when they wanted, with 82 per cent getting an appointment the first time they called – compared to just six per cent who were unable to book an appointment at all.
Across the nine surgeries, most patients (70 per cent) said they ‘definitely’ have confidence and trust in their GP, with only three per cent saying they have no trust in their doctor.
Similarly, two thirds of patients (65 per cent) said they ‘definitely’ trust their nurse, while only two per cent said they had no trust at all.
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The top-performing surgery in the survey was Heywood Family Practice, in Pill, ranking in the top three in all five key categories.
Portishead Medical Group was also highly commended by its patients, making the top three in four categories.
But patients at Clevedon Medical Centre seem less satisfied, with the surgery receiving a bottom-three ranking in all key categories.
Long Ashton Surgery, too, struggled in the survey – placing in the bottom three four times – while Harbourside Family Practice ranked in the bottom three in three categories.
Eileen Jacques, chief officer of Healthwatch North Somerset, said ‘most people in North Somerset report a good overall experience of their GP surgery’.
She added: “However, access to appointments continues to be difficult for a sizeable number of people, for example, 29 per cent of local people said it was not easy to access their GP surgery on the phone and eight per cent reported they could not get an appointment.
“The majority (61 per cent) of responders to the survey were of working age and of those, 31 per cent said they could not leave work for an appointment, therefore access to GP appointments for this group of local people could be challenging.
“A number of people proposed additional opening hours notably before and after working hours and Saturdays.”
Ms Jacques told the Times she was ‘surprised’ by the lack of awareness of online GP services ‘in the light of the difficulties for some of getting through on the phone’.
She added: “The development and promotion of online services by GP surgeries may ease some pressure for patients who find it difficult to access their surgery by other means.
“GP surgeries are the first service that most people access when they have a health problem and they are also the access point for many other health services as often GPs must provide the referrals.
“We are aware of the increasing pressures on health services and note that despite these pressures North Somerset GP Practices continue to provide a service that the majority are happy with.”