Earlier this month the NHS released its annual GP patient survey. The survey provides information on patients’ overall experience of primary care services and their overall experience of accessing these services. [The full findings of the survey can be found here.]
According to the survey, almost 30% of patients across England say that it is ‘not easy’ to get through to their GP survey on the phone. It is estimated that 340 million consultations are taken every year therefore, according to these statistics, around 102 million people across England will have at least a small scale of difficulty in arranging a doctors appointment with their GP. A more worrying statistic, however, is that 15% of patients were unable to get an appointment with their GP altogether [at their last time of asking] – It can be estimated that somewhere in the region of 51 million people failed to get a desired appointment to either see or speak with a GP at some point over the year.
The standout statistic in the ‘health’ category is that 37% of people who have long standing health conditions, (the most common long standing health condition [LSHC] being high blood pressure) feel that they don’t have enough support to manage their health condition. According to the Kings Fund, people with LTCHs account for 50% of all GP appointments, this means that 62.9 million people who have long standing health conditions are, in other words, unhappy with the support they receive from their GPs.
In terms of patient waiting times the survey showed that 35.4% of patients wait over 15 minutes after their appointment time to be seen. Unfortunately the survey does not indicate how long patients have to wait after the first 15 minutes, however, it does indicate that more than half of all patients (57.7%) say ‘they don’t normally have to wait too long’ to be seen. Although this could indicate that 42.3% of patients aren’t entirely happy with the length of waiting times in their GPs surgeries.
The survey states that only 29.3% of patients are aware that they can book an appointment with their GP online and as little as 6.5% of them actually go ahead in booking an appointment online. A similar number of 29.6% of patients are aware that they can order repeat prescriptions online but 326.4 million out of the 340 million people that visit a GPs surgery annually do not realise that they can access their medical records online. In addition to this, almost 10% (9.8%) of people believe that none of these online services exist.