According to the GP Patient Survey 2017, most people in Britain are satisfied with the service provided by their general practitioners.
This extensive survey questioned 800,000 people, and concluded that around 85% consider the overall experience of their GP surgery as being at least good.
Furthermore, trust in GPs remains extremely robust, with almost 92% of those surveyed indicating that they had confidence in medical practitioners.
Over three-quarters of those responding to the survey asserted that they would recommend their current GP surgery to someone who has just moved to the local area, with a similar proportion of patients rating their overall experience of making an appointment as been “good” as well.
Most patients were able to acquire an appointment on the most recent occasion that they had attempted to do so, with over two-thirds of respondents considering it at least fairly easy to contact someone at the local GP surgery.
There was also an improvement in the awareness of online GP services, with more patients saying they are aware of how to book appointments (up 3.8% on last year to 36.1%), ordering repeat prescriptions (up 2.6% to 34.1%) and access to medical records (up to 8.9%).
However, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, chair of the Royal College of GPs, still believes that there is significant room for improvement.
“Our patients should be able to see a GP when they need to, so it’s very concerning that more people are having to wait for longer to get appointments with their GP or practice nurse. It is particularly worrying that some patients are deciding not to seek medical advice at all if they are not able to get an appointment initially”.
And the eminent doctor believes that a lack of investment from the government can be blamed for the current crisis in general practice.
“Unfortunately, what we are seeing now is the result of a decade of under investment in general practice which has led to a severe shortage of GPs, and it is our patients who ultimately bear the brunt. We need the pledges in NHS England’s GP Forward View – which includes an extra £2.4bn a year for general practice and 5,000 additional GPs – to be delivered as a matter of urgency so that our patients can see a GP when they need to and receive the quality care they deserve.”
There have been repeated reports in recent months emanating from some of the most authoritative voices in the NHS system which have suggested that general practice is a particular area of concern, even within a challenging NHS climate.