Picker responds to the GP Patient Survey 2022 results

New results from the regular national GP Patient Survey have been published today by NHS England. The survey, which includes responses from more than 700,000 patients aged 16 or over and registered with a GP in England, asks about all aspects of general practice care – from making an appointment to communication with practice staff and wider support with managing long-term conditions. The findings show sharp declines in the quality of people’s experiences across all of these areas.

Commenting on the findings, Chris Graham, CEO of Picker – a charity committed to promoting person centred care and with expertise in patient surveys – said:

“Results from the GP Patient Survey 2022 are truly shocking. They show unprecedented declines in people’s self-reported experiences of general practice across almost all aspects of care and indicate a serious deterioration in quality. The proportion of people who described their overall experience of their general practice as ‘very’ or ‘fairly poor’ has more than doubled in a year, from 6.7% in 2021 to 13.6% in 2022. It is highly unusual for a measure in such a large survey to change so dramatically over such a short space of time, and yet this example is typical of the declines seen across many of the questions.”

“Access to general practice appears to be a particular issue. Only around half of respondents say it is ‘fairly’ or ‘very easy’ to get through to their GP practice on the phone – a drop of 15% points year-on-year, and a 28%-point decline over the last decade. Similarly, almost a quarter (23.5%) said that they were ‘very’ or ‘fairly dissatisfied’ with the appointment times available to them – and more than two in five (41.5%) said they were offered no choice about the time, place, or who they saw last time they booked an appointment.”

“Despite the negative results, patients continue to report positive experiences with individual members of staff: 93.1% said that they had confidence and trust in the healthcare professional that they spoke to at their last appointment. But it is clear from the survey results that the intense challenges facing general practice – including a severe and growing shortage of GPs and practice nurses as well as high sickness absence rates – are now having a significant impact on patient experiences of care.”

“The problems cannot be fixed overnight. Recent analysis from the Health Foundation’s REAL Centre has shown that a current shortfall of 4,200 full-time equivalent GPs is projected to reach 10,700 by 2030/31 – equivalent to one in four of the posts needed (i). Action is needed now to arrest this gap, and recruitment and retention of general practice staff must be prioritised. Without this, people’s experiences are only likely to worsen further – undermining efforts to deliver person centred care and adding to the pressure on secondary care services, who risk being left to deal with unmet need in primary care.”

[i] https://www.health.org.uk/news-and-comment/news/more-than-a-quarter-of-gp-and-general-practice-nursing-posts-could-be-vacant-in-10-years

Full results from the survey are available at https://gp-patient.co.uk/surveysandreports

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