GP Practice Report December 2022

Healthwatch Norfolk noticed a rise in the number of patients dissatisfied with their experiences at doctors’ surgeries. Patients were telling us they were unhappy with waiting times, unsure of how surgeries decided on priorities for care, and general negativity with access and the services offered to them. Targeted engagement was carried out at doctors’ surgeries throughout Summer 2022 (May to August) to find out more. The main aim was to be able to help surgeries across Norfolk ensure their patients are well informed about the way they work, the services they offer, the people they may be offered an appointment with, and the options available to them.

We visited 50 different sites for this work and received feedback from 516 patients.

Nearly half (46%) of respondents rated their experience of booking appointments as five out of five. Across doctors’ surgeries, there was a wide range of average rating for booking appointments. For surgeries where we received more than five surveys, this varied from an average of 1.8 to an average of 5.0 out of five.

Over half (54%) of respondents rated their overall experience with their doctors’ surgery as five out of five. Again, there was a wide range of average ratings across surgeries. For surgeries where we received more than five surveys, this varied from an average of 2.9 to an average of 5.0 out of five.

Based on our findings, we recommended

  1. Individual surgeries review phone systems and shorten waiting times on phones to reduce patient frustration.
  2. NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB create more opportunities for surgeries to share best practice and learning with each other, for example at Primary Care Network (PCN) meetings.
  3. Surgeries and their Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) take greater responsibility for communicating with their patients and actively communicate through appropriate methods, for example regular email newsletters and text updates.
  4. Continuing and consistent information sharing and engagement with patients, both at an NHS Norfolk and Waveney ICB level, an individual surgery level, and with support from Healthwatch Norfolk.
  5. Recognising the pressure on the wider system, Healthwatch Norfolk to explore patient experiences at other front door health services, such as pharmacies, to ensure that there is sufficient and satisfactory support available.

Half the time, you have to wait for them to answer the phone and then you have to wait for a doctor to call, and then you don't always get an appointment. I have cancer and I need things.

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