Change in opinion of GP practices

Patients’ opinion of service at their GP practice has worsened three years in a row, according to a report.

When surveyed for NHS England between January and March this year, 75 per cent of patients in Telford and Wrekin described the overall experience at their local surgery as “good”, while 12 per cent called it “poor”.

The national averages are 82 and seven per cent respectively, and patients in Shropshire gave their practices more favourable ratings.

In a report for the county’s CCGs, Quality Lead Jane Sullivan says she is working to identify practices that need a further breakdown of the figures and more support to improve.

In a report on the results, Telford and Wrekin CCG Primary Care Commissioning Manager Darren Francis and Shropshire CCG Primary Care Project Manager Laura Kinsey note that 14,680 forms were sent to patients and 6,334 of these were returned completed to pollster Ipsos MORI.

The response rate in Telford and Wrekin was 35 per cent while Shropshire’s was 46 per cent.

Eighty-five per cent of Shropshire’s patients rated their GP practice “fairly good” or “very good”, and at Worthen Medical Practice just under 100 per cent of patients did so.

Shrewsbury’s Severn Fields Medical Practice had the lowest proportion of “good” ratings in the CCG area, at 57 per cent.

Comparisons

In Telford and Wrekin, 75 per cent of patients rated their practice “fairly good” or “very good”, and nearly all surveyed patients at Wellington Road Surgery, in Newport, did so. Wellington Medical Practice, in Wellington, received the lowest rate, at 52 per cent.

Mr Francis and Ms Kinsey point out that just 1,500 completed forms were returned from within Telford and Wrekin, a borough with about 180,000 residents, meaning the survey “represents only 0.8 per cent of the patient population”. Diagrams in the report carry warnings that “comparisons are indicative only” and “differences may not be statistically significant” because of the sample size.

In her “Quality Report”, Ms Sullivan points out that 89 then 88 per cent of Shropshire patients gave “good” ratings in 2018 and 2019 respectively and Telford and Wrekin’s figure went from 79 to 77 per cent in the same years. Similarly, the number of “poor” ratings rose from four to five per cent in Shropshire and nine to 11 per cent in Telford and Wrekin.

Ms Sullivan writes that the results “reflect the national trend for the percentage rated as ‘good’ for overall patient experience to be lessening over time”.

She adds that she “is working with locality and commissioning managers to identify practices which require an additional ‘deep dive’ into results and support to improve in areas identified as impacting on patient experience, such as access to appointments”.

Both reports will be discussed by the Telford and Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group Primary Care Commissioning Committee and its Shropshire counterpart when they meet together today.

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