Patient Survey Results
September - October 2022
Our survey was carried out from September–October 2022 and was designed jointly by the Patient Participation Group (PPG) and WMGP. The aims for the survey were to gain patient views on the practice’s service provision.
Your responses are extremely valuable, and they will help us to implement changes to ensure we provide you with the best quality care and services with the resources we have available.
There were a total of 1970 patient responses – via internet and paper questionnaires. We take this opportunity of thanking everyone for participating in our survey.
- There is a high degree of disappointment with Access to Appointments
- There is a lack of knowledge and understanding regarding alternative health care providers and professionals that can provide appropriate and better and quicker access to treatment
- There are improvements to be made in the attitudes and behaviours of some reception staff
Action Plans based on these key findings have been made and are included in this report.
You have said, we have listened and responded
We are grateful to have received a large number of free text remarks on certain questions. We have listened and have discussed each one. We then created our explanations and our responses to the themes of the remarks made.
The following show our explanations and responses. Our action plans follow this.
Availability / Access:
- There is no certainty to when and how patients can make an advance appointment.
- Advanced appointments are released each day for up to a week ahead. These appointments can be made online or at front desk.
- Receptionists give stock reply “ there are no advance appointments. Call again next morning”.
- Due to the unprecedented demand, advanced appointments are often booked quickly. Advising patients to call back is sometimes the only option.
- Many patients would be happy to have an advanced appointment if available.
- We offer a mix of on the day telephone triage, face to face appointments in addition to advanced and online bookings. Ensuring patient choice whilst making sure there are appointments to meet daily demand is challenging. We only have a finite number of appointments each day.
- Many people are unable to telephone as they are travelling to work or are at work. Online system is not working.
- Online services are the alternative to telephoning. Online services are actively working. GP appointments, blood tests and cervical screening appointments are offered to online booking.
- No call-back option
- We have recently updated our telephone system and now offer a call-back option
- No time for GP call back is given
- We appreciate this can result in calls backs being missed. Triage calls are booked from 8.30am to 9.30am, patients can now expect the GP to contact them between 8.30am and 9.30am.
- Calls are triaged so the most urgent called first.
- A GP will attempt to contact the patient twice then leave a message asking the patient to call back.
- Routine GP calls to discuss test results are attempted between 10.30am and 11.30 or 1pm and 3pm.
- Technical Aspects of the telephone system
- Your feedback indicates issues with the technical aspects of the phone system.
- We are more than happy to refer any technical issues to the system provider. We have recently updated to a cloud-based system which has many benefits including a call-back option for patients. Call waiting appears to have improved. Occasionally calls drop out. If this should happen, we are more than happy to ask the system supplier to investigate the cause. Please tell us if you have this or any other technical issues. Please let us have your number to enable a trace to be made.
- Your feedback indicates issues with the technical aspects of the phone system.
Receptionists’ Behaviour and Manners:
Many free text responses commented on receptionist behaviours such as poor attitude, inappropriate manners, and uncaring and unhelpful.
The data responses that you made indicated that:-
- 60% felt the receptionists were helpful
- 37% felt the receptionists were unhelpful
- 3% replied “don’t know”
Our expectation of all staff is to provide a professional, caring service at all times.
They are all committed, along with us, to make the changes required to ensure that every patient is satisfied, even in the face of the inevitable and unsurmountable difficulties that are often present. These are in place and we are now getting positive feedback.
The changes include:
- Recruitment and training of more receptionists
- Annual mandatory training which includes customer service and conflict resolution.
- Appointment of an in-house Practice Trainer who supports the team with additional training when needed.
- A Reception Master Class course.
We will always respond to patient feedback including that relating to poor service standards.
- That said, our front line staff are often on the receiving end of patient frustrations. Staff shortages and sickness also add increasing pressures on the team. Please be assured that all staff are working extremely hard to improve and provide the best quality service in what can at times be very challenging circumstances.
Key Point 1 - Access
We will work to free up more GP appointments by actively promoting the alternative service providers available to our patients.
We will do this by creating promotional material in the form of videos and leaflets together with PPG communication effective from mid April.
Key Point 2 - Understanding of the alternative health professionals and services available by Care Navigation
We are committed to reduce the 95% of responders who were unfamiliar with care navigation. We will ensure all receptionists are fully trained to offer the wide range of alternative services to our patients, effective from Mid April
Key Point 3 - Behaviours - Strive to provide the best customer care services to our patients
Although 60% of patients felt receptionists are helpful we promise to work on our customer service skills to reduce 37% of the 1970 respondents who felt that our receptionists were unhelpful to below 10% by the end of 2023.
We will undertake another patient survey in 24 months
Patient Survey Detailed Responses to Questions
Q1: Approximately how often do you interact with the practice?
- Once a month: 21%
- Every 3 Months: 27%
- Every 6 Months: 18%
- Less Often: 32%
Q2: How helpful do you find the receptionists at the practice?
- Very Helpful: 20%
- Somewhat Helpful: 39%
- Not So Helpful: 21%
- Not at All Helpful: 15%
- Don't Know: 2%
Q4: How helpful do you find the doctors at the practice?
- Very Helpful: 44%
- Somewhat Helpful: 37%
- Not So Helpful: 6%
- Not at All Helpful: 2%
- Don't Know: 9%
Q5: Do you have access to online information by computer or smartphone?
- Yes: 87%
- No: 12%
Q6: Which of the following online services have you used in the last 12 months?
- Booking Appointments: 25%
- Ordering Repeat Prescriptions: 38%
- Accessing my medical records: 16%
- Having an online consultation (eConsult or telephone call): 28%
- None of the above: 32%
Your responses show that 32% of patients who participated in the survey have not used any of the services listed.
The NHS App is a new user friendly, easy-to-use and it's free!
- Patients can book or cancel their appointment
- Request their repeat medication
- Access to medical records (currently limited)
Find information about the NHS App
Q7: How easy is it to use the practice’s website to look for information or access services?
- Very Easy: 5%
- Fairly Easy: 26%
- Not Very Easy: 26%
- Difficult: 14%
- I haven't tried: 27%
Q8: How satisfied are you with the GP appointments available to you?
- Very satisfied: 3%
- Satisfied: 11%
- Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied: 17%
- Dissatisfied: 30%
- Very dissatisfied: 36%
We were disappointed that 36% of respondents said they were very dissatisfied with the GP appointments availability. We fully understand this, however demand for GP appointments is particularly high locally and nationally and we have been fortunate to have successfully recruited Dr Connor Gorrard- Smith to the team.
In additional, some GPs have worked extra sessions to increase appointment availability.
We are addressing this in our action plan.
Q9: When did you last try to make a GP appointment?
- In the last 3 months: 60%
- 3-6 months ago: 18%
- 6-12 months ago: 11%
- More than 12 months ago: 8%
- I haven't tried to make one since being registered: 1%
Q10: Have you used or tried to use any of the following services?
- The NHS app (NOT the COVID NHS app): 54%
- NHS onine (eg 111 online): 24%
- A local pharmacist: 56%
- Phoned an NHS helpline eg 111: 26%
- Urgent treatment centre (not A and E): 6%
- A and E (Accident and Emergency department): 25%
- Minor Injury Unit: 7%
- Online mental health and wellbeing information hub: 4%
- Patient access online: 14%
- None of these: 13%
It is good to see that the responses indicate patients are increasingly using the alternatives available to them.
However, 13.07% of respondents have not used or tried any of the services mentioned. We need to work to reduce this.
Receptionists are trained to speak with patients to enable them to offer the most appropriate alternative service to patients.
Q11: When you last made an appointment, were you offered: (tick all that apply)
- A choice of type of appointment (eg phone, video, online, in person): 18%
- A choice of healthcare professional (eg GP, nurse practitioner, practice nurse): 13%
- None of these: 61%
- Can’t remember: 10%
Q12: Were you satisfied with the appointment that was offered? (Choose one response)
- Yes, and I accepted it: 44%
- No, but I accepted it: 34%
- No and I declined it: 2%
- I was not offered an appointment: 19%
Q13: GP shortages are widely reported. Are you willing to use an alternative healthcare professional?
- Yes: 78%
- No: 21%
You have said that 21.65% of respondents would not use an alternative healthcare provider.
The NHS offers a wide range of alternative healthcare providers who are trained and able to offer advice and treatment to patients, often quicker than waiting to see your GP.
For more details visit Kent and Medway ICB
Q14: Do you know that we offer the following Healthcare Practitioners? (Please tick all that you know about)
- First contact practitioner for joint pain: 6%
- Child and young person’s mental health specialist nurse: 3%
- Nurse practitioner: 69%
- None of these: 29%
You have said that 29.30% of respondents did not know we offer First Contact Practitioners, Child and young persons mental health specialist nurse or Nurse Practitioner services.
First contact Practitioners can see patients with joint pain, they can assess, give treatment options and refer. They are specialists in this field and offer a 20 minute appointment. No need to see the GP first.
Child and young persons mental health nurse. Patients can be booked directly in for an appointment. No need to see the GP first.
Nurse Practitioners can see patients over 2 years old. They can assess, prescribe and refer.
All these services are run by fully trained professionals and offer an alternative to seeing a GP.
Q15: Care Navigation is the term used for how patients are signposted to the most suitable service. Receptionists will question patients to direct them appropriately. Have you been directed to any of these?
- Children’s health and welfare navigator: 0.87%
- Social Prescriber: 0.37%
- Dementia care coordinator: 0.41%
- Learning disability coordinator: 0.31%
- Community pharmacy service: 3%
- None of these: 95%
You have said 95% of respondents have not been directed to other service providers. Care Navigation is the term used to signpost patients to the most suitable service. Receptionists will speak with patients to establish the most suitable services to help the patient. Many requests for appointments relate to social and welfare issues which can be managed by an alternative provider.
Our Receptionists are trained to offer these services, hence providing more rapid and good treatment whilst improving availability for GPs to see patients with ongoing or acute health issues.
Q16: Overall, how would you describe your experience of the GP practice?
- Very good: 8%
- Fairly good: 23%
- Neither good or bad: 18%
- Fairly poor: 28%
- Very poor: 20%
Q18: Do you usually have difficulty attending the GP surgery eg due to mobility problems, lack of (public) transport, the location of the surgery or surgeries?
- Yes: 8%
- No: 91%
Q19: What is your ethnicity group?
- Asian or Asian British: 2%
- Black, Black British, Caribbean or African: 0.46%
- Mixed or multiple ethnic groups: 1%
- White: 88%
- Other: 0.46%
- Prefer not to say: 7%
Q20: What is your age range
- Under 16: 0.05%
- 16-17: 0%
- 18-24: 1%
- 25-34: 5%
- 35-44: 14%
- 45-54: 23%
- 55-64: 22%
- 65-74: 21%
- 75-84: 10%
- 85+: 1%
Q21: What is your gender?
- Female: 63%
- Male: 33%
- Non Binary: 0.25%
- Prefer not to say: 2%
Published: Feb 24, 2023
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