Patient Survey

The patient survey undertaken in the Practice during January/February 2013 has been analysed and this report aims to summarise the findings. The survey was undertaken by 486 patients, a very good response that provides a good insight into the feelings, needs and expectations of the patients of our Practice. This report will follow the headings of the survey as given in the analysis.

Age Group

As with previous surveys which have been undertaken by the PPG over 76% of the respondents were aged 41-66+ and two thirds were female.

In the last 12 months how many times have you seen a doctor at the Practice?

There were 486 respondents but the analysis was based on 433 as 53 skipped this section.

Thinking of times when you went to see a particular doctor. How quickly do you usually get to see that doctor?

36.67% indicated they were seen on the same day with 18.22% waiting 5 working days or more whilst 42.86% said they rated this area of service as very good when the comments were  analysed individually comments that have been passed before were repeated.

“Never ask to see a particular doctor anymore”

“I have not been able to see my registered Dr for months. This is not good”

“Never seen by my own doctor (not for years)”

The general feeling of the comments is that patients with chronic conditions would appreciate the continuity of being seen by the same doctor but feel this is not possible with the current system of appointments . The patients do however acknowledge that when prepared to be seen by any of the doctors 64.18% of them were seen on the same day.

Given that all the GP partners at the Practice work part-time, between 2 sessions (1 day) a week and 8 sessions (4 days) a week it is not surprising that patients cannot always see the Doctor of their preference. Whilst we try to accommodate patients where we can we do not have a fully open appointment system as we need to have appointments available at short notice to accommodate patients who do not have long term conditions and who are not regular attenders at the Practice. It is a difficult process to manage.

How long do you usually have to wait at the practice for your consultations to begin?

This has always been a contentious area, in this survey it continues to give rise for criticism. 74.72% of the respondents waited between 6-20 min and 7.63% more than 30 min. When the comments are looked at one patient said he had re-booked his appointment because of length of wait and on the second appointment was still left waiting in excess of 20 min. Another patient waited in excess of 1 hour 35 min when attending with a 2 week old baby. From the comments given it would seem that 9 a.m in the morning and afternoon surgeries are the problem areas in the day.

  • Despite the comments nearly 71% of the respondents felt the wait times fell between good and fair and just 9.8% felt it was a poor service.

Whilst Doctors do try to keep to time as they say ‘you never know what will come through your door’. A patient consultation takes as long as it takes. For example a patient may arrive, describe their symptoms and the Doctor may decide that an urgent, immediate referral is needed elsewhere. This can take time to arrange. Meanwhile a delay for the next patients due in is occurring and can build up during the full morning or afternoon session. Whilst this can be frustrating we would all want to be treated appropriately by the Doctor and the Doctors do not keep patients waiting deliberately.

 If you need to see a GP urgently, can you normally be seen on the same day?

The area of concern here is that 27.29% of the patients said ‘don’t know’!

When the situation was urgent it was disappointing to note that 27.29, nearly one third of the respondents did not know if they would be seen on the same day. Those patients that had needed urgent care were all very grateful for the care they received not only from the doctors but also the nurses in the practice.

Managing the appointments system is a difficult task and there are a very limited number of appointments first thing in the morning and later in the afternoon. We only have as many 9.00a.m or after 5.00p.m. appointments as we have Doctors working that day and cannot provide more. Once they are all booked then appointments at other times during the day have to be offered.

We have a mixed system where appointments can be booked in advance or booked on the day. However, once again if all the ‘open’ appointments are fully booked we have to ask patients to ring in on the day which can be difficult for some people. We have a small number of appointments for emergencies which are booked by the designated Doctor on the day. We do have Saturday morning surgeries which are predominantly for people who work and have difficulty coming to see a Doctor in the week. We have just increased the number of appointments available by employing Dr Clarson to do an extra session on Saturday morning as well having one of the Practice partners on duty.

Thinking about your consultation today with the doctor/nurse please rate them on :

  • How well they explained and discussed the care and treatment options available to you.

Of those patients that chose to respond to this 69.69% selected very good with less than 1% saying they felt it was poor. As previous surveys have found once the patients get to their appointment be it with a doctor or nurse they are very satisfied.

  • How well they took into account your needs, wishes and preferences when assessing and planning your treatment.

Out of the 420 patients who responded 92.7 % said very good or good to this question. Only 4 patients (0.9%) thought this aspect of care was poor.

  • How well they listened to what you said

At this point I would draw the reader’s attention to one comment in particular

‘ Brilliant service from all members of staff’

It is impossible to please all the people all the time but it showed that despite some negative comments the bulk were very positive. Which is reflected in the ‘how do you rate this’ section where only 1.84% said poor.

  • Giving information that was clear and easily understood.

It is a positive indictment of the skills of the staff that less than 1% of the patients felt they were not given information in a clear and easily understood manner.

  • Making it easy for you to ask questions about any aspect of your diagnosis or proposed treatment.

The responses given reflect the patient’s response to the previous question.

  • Checking your understanding of what has been discussed.

Again the responses reflect the previous two questions.  If a patient has not understood what the doctor has said they cannot ask any questions.  If the patient does not ask questions the presumption will be that all is well and this may not be the case. That being said the percentage who felt this area was poor was yet again less than 2% compared to 64.81% who felt this was very good.

  • Respecting any decisions you have made in relation to your treatment, balancing your choice with safety and clinical effectiveness.

More than 90% of the respondents either felt this was very good or good with two thirds of them feeling this was very good.

  • Encouraging and allowing you to manage your own treatment wherever you can.

There was a slight shift in opinion from ‘very good’ to ‘good’ but again approx. 95% of the patients survived were happy with this aspect of their care.

  • Making you feel comfortable and at ease during the consultation.

425 patients responded to this question and of those 72.24% said it was very good.

Overall 94.2% of all patients who responded said that the Doctors and nurses were good (27.4%) or very good (66.8%). This is a very positive feedback and reflects the commitment of our clinicians to good quality patient care. Of the respondents who responded fair (4.5%) and poor (1.3%) to the second part of the survey a more detailed analysis is required to see if there is an obvious trend.

There were some excellent comments made about all areas of the staff but as with previous surveys it is the appointments, waiting times and reception area that drew the most criticism. It was disappointing to see that one patient felt a private area to discuss problems would be useful when we addressed this problem quite some time ago, maybe we need to put a sign on the door. The problems with ringing in for appointments and the perceived inability to see the doctor of choice still continue. Yet again the possibility of an extra member of staff in reception has been raised and patients obviously see this as a bottle neck as they are very happy with the services the practice provides once they get to them.

There are many positive comments and some negative but the report will end with this quote from a patient,

‘The people who complain really should try some others and then re-write their findings. To date exceptional service,  pleasant, helpful and professional from reception onwards.’

Dr Pamela Deaville


Kingsbridge Patient Participation Group

Thank you to everyone who completed the survey. Your help with this project is most appreciated and you have provided valuable evidence and information which will not only be used by the Practice but also by the Care Quality Commission as our regulating body.