Survey points to a fall in satisfaction with GP care across the country

0
Have your say

There is worsening satisfaction with GP services, a poll has found.

Overall ratings of GP care remain high, with 86 per cent of patients saying their experience was good - but this is a fall of 3.4 per cent on two years ago.

The findings from 900,000 who responded to an annual NHS survey come as doctors warn of growing pressure on services.

Nationally three quarters of patients rated their experience of making an appointment as good - 4.5 per cent lower than 2012.

Despite efforts to widen opening hours in recent years, 77 per cent were happy with access - four per cent down on 2012.

Only two thirds of patients described their experience of out-of-hours care as good - 4.6 per cent lower than 2012.

In the region, highest overall ratings were in Hambleton, Richmondshire and Whitby at 93 per cent, falling to only 72 per cent in Bradford city.

In Yorkshire, just 55 per cent of patients were positive about out-of-hours care in Huddersfield, with approval levels at only 62 per cent in West Yorkshire where soaring demand has hit services in the last year.

Only 59 per cent of patients were happy with out-of-hours care in Scarborough and Ryedale, where a major shake-up is being planned.

Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said: “This survey confirms what Labour has been saying - that it is getting harder to get a GP appointment under David Cameron and there is growing public dissatisfaction with GP services.

“People are waiting days and even weeks for appointments and that is forcing people into A&E in record numbers.

“GP services are under intense pressure - it is a mess of ministers’ making.

“But instead of supporting GPs, they propose to ‘name-and-shame’ to deflect blame from their own failings.

“No wonder GPs are so utterly demoralised with many opting to leave the profession.”

Prof Nigel Mathers, honorary secretary of the Royal College of GPs, said: “GPs are still the most trusted professionals in the NHS and today’s results are a tribute to the hard work and dedication of GPs across England.

“However, we are very concerned that some patients are finding it difficult to make a GP appointment when they want one. Every patient should be able to see their GP when they need to, and it is especially worrying that some patients did not manage to get an appointment at all.”

Leeds family doctor Richard Vautrey, deputy chairman of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, added: “It is encouraging that GPs have again achieved excellent patient satisfaction results, with feedback showing that the overwhelming majority of patients believe GPs are providing a good service.

“This is all the more remarkable when GPs and their practice teams are dealing with unsustainable workload pressures every day.

“However, it is a concern that the results show signs of slipping backwards. The Government must heed these early warning signs, together with the recent falling GP recruitment figures, and urgently invest in general practice.”

NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group said it was reviewing the figures.

David Geddes, head of primary care commissioning at NHS England, said the majority of patients were positive about their care.

He added: “But we need to recognise the continuing trend in what patients are telling us about access to services, particularly out of hours.”