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Practice nurses score well with patients in GP survey

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The majority of patients are happy with the service provided by nurses in GP practices, shows the results of the latest national survey.

More than 900,000 people responded to the National GP Patient Survey for 2013-14, with over half – 53% – reporting they had seen or spoken to a practice nurse in the past six months.

“The majority of patients are positive about their GP services, which is testament to the hard work of GPs and their staff”

David Geddes

The survey found most patients were positive about their experiences regarding nurses at their surgery, with 81% reporting nurses had been good at giving them enough time.

Eighty per cent said their nurse was good at listening and 79% said their nurse treated them with care and concern.

Seventy-eight per cent said the nurse had been good at explaining tests and treatment, and 67% said the nurse was good at involving them in decision about care.

When asked if they had confidence and trust in the nurse they saw or spoke to, 63% said “definitely” and 23% said “to some extent” while just 2% said “not at all”, with 11% reporting they did not know or could not say.

The results were almost exactly the same as findings from previous surveys in 2013 and 2012.

The last time patients contacted their GP surgery the majority – 77% – wanted to see a GP with 18% wanting to see a nurse.

Very few wanted to speak to a GP on the phone – 6% – and just 1% wanted to speak to a nurse on the phone.

Of those who got an appointment, 76% got an appointment to see a GP at the surgery and 21% got to see a nurse.

Eighty-six per cent described the overall experience of their GP surgery as good – a very small decrease on last year’s result.

However, the survey revealed growing dissatisfaction with the open hours of practices. Seventy-seven per cent said they were satisfied with the hours their GP surgery is open, down from 80% year and 81% in 2012.

The survey also revealed an increase in the number of people booking appointments online to 4.5%. However, the proportion who said they would prefer to book online was 33%.

“Overall these results show the majority of patients are positive about their GP services, which is testament to the hard work of GPs and their staff,” said Dr David Geddes, head of primary care and commissioning at NHS England.

“But we need to recognise the continuing trend in what patients are telling us about access to services, particularly out of hours,” he said.

Twenty government-funded pilot schemes are currently testing ways to improve access to GP services, including opening for longer hours on weekdays and at weekends, and increasing the number of ways patients can book appointments and consult with healthcare professionals, such as email and Skype.

The Friends and Family Test will be introduced to GP practices later this year, providing real-time feedback about patients’ experiences.


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