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96% of patients trust GPs and healthcare professionals, NHS England survey reveals

96% of patients trust GPs and healthcare professionals, NHS England survey reveals
By Elisabeth Mahase Journalist
9 August 2018

Patient confidence in GPs has remained high with nearly 96% ofpatients saying they trust their GP, according to the latest NHS England GP Patient Survey.

The annual survey, of nearly 760,000 patients across England, was re-designed for 2018 to reflect changes in primary care and now includes answers 16 and 17 year olds.

While the changes to the survey render the results not directly comparable year-on-year, the 2017 survey revealed that 92% of patients said they were confident in and trusted the last GP they saw.

This comes despite just half of patients say they are able to see their preferred GP ‘always, almost always or a lot of the time’.

The survey also found that 94% of patients felt involved in decisions about their care and treatment, while 87% said they had been given enough time with their GP.

But of the 54% of patients who said they have a preferred GP, access was low with only 50% of these being able to see them ‘always, almost always or a lot of the time’.

This comes after a study revealed that patients who see different GPs from visit to visit are more than twice as likely to be admitted to hospital.

The survey also revealed high patient satisfaction with out-of-hours GP services, with 69% saying they had a good experience of NHS services when they wished to see a GP but their surgery was closed.

An even higher number, 91%, reported that they had confidence and trust in all healthcare professionals they saw or talked to at times when their practice was closed.

The survey also found that:

  • 84% described the overall experience of their GP surgery as good
  • 69% of patients rated their overall experience of making an appointment as good
  • 62% of patients was given an appointment when they wanted it, or earlier than requested 
  • 66% of patients who wanted a same day appointment got one
  • 78% of patients who have tried to use their GP practice website found it easy to access information or services
  • 89% of patients said the healthcare professional they saw was good at listening to them 

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey said: ‘That trust and confidence in GPs remain high is down to the strong direct relationship between doctors and patients, built up over many years of commitment, working in both smaller and larger practices but crucially always embedded in the local community.

He added that patients being unable to see their preferred doctor ‘causes understandable frustration for both patients and GPs alike’.

NHS England acting director of primary care Dr Nikita Kanani, who is taking on the role following Dr Arvind Madan’s resignation earlier this week, 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, helping more people living with increasingly complex conditions.

She added that NHS England is ‘already putting record funding into primary care after years of underinvestment, with an additional £2.4bn every year by 2020 to help drive improvements in care, including widening access with more GPs are in training than ever before’.

Earlier this week the RCGP called for an urgent overhaul of the GP Forward View, including a further £2.5bn investment in general practice each year.

This story was first published on our sister publication Pulse. 

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