From this week, more than two million people are being given an opportunity to tell the NHS about their experiences of using services at the GP practice they are registered with. The GP Patient Survey invites a sample of people aged 16 and over from over 7000 practices across England to take part.
The survey provides detailed information about the range of ways people interact with primary care staff and how good that experience is. It plays a key role in understanding what’s working and what needs to improve. It is a key source of information for understanding the impact of recent changes introduced in primary care, such as extended opening hours and other initiatives, which were carried out in response to what patients said in previous years’ surveys.
Those who are randomly selected to take part will receive a letter over the next few weeks, along with a questionnaire. They can complete it – by post or online – until the end of March and there is a range of options to make it more inclusive for people who need support to help them take part. Their information is handled securely and no-one is identified when the findings are published.
Dr Kieran Murphy, Medical Director for Cheshire, Merseyside, Lancashire and South Cumbria said: “It’s really important we hear about our patient’s experiences using local NHS services and how we can improve them.
“So if you are one of those selected please take the time to participate in the survey and help us improve services for you and your family.”
The questionnaire asks not just about the care provided by GPs, but also about seeing other healthcare professionals such as on-site pharmacists, mental health specialists and practice nurses. The survey aims too to find out more about people’s experiences of using online services, telephone services and face-to-face appointments. It also looks at how much support people get with managing long-term conditions and medication.
Patients who are not invited to take part in this year’s survey can still provide useful feedback to their GP practice teams by filling in a Friends and Family Test (FFT) form at their practice any time. It is open to everyone, any time and every practice is involved. More than 1.2 million pieces of feedback on NHS-funded services are given this way every month and they help to continuously improve and take the pulse of healthcare across England, with nine in 10 patients who give feedback rating their experience positively.