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“We act positively to support patients”

Date: 21 March 2017

Category: GP patient survey

Ours is an inner city practice in a somewhat deprived area of Nottingham. There is a senior partner and four other part-time GPs. 

The patients are very varied in their social and ethnic backgrounds and their needs. There are lots of people with lots of problems so I guess you could call it a difficult practice.

Like many Patient Participation Groups, ours couldn’t really be described as representative of the practice’s patient population. Most people who are involved are retired or not working so can meet during the day and we are lucky to have one young person who has been able to join us.

What issues do we tackle? There are some perennials: access time to make an appointment, length of time to wait for an appointment with the patient’s choice of GP and so on. And we have set up ways to act positively to support patients – for example for people with long term conditions the practice follows up their hospital appointments, reminding patients to keep their appointments, that kind of thing.

Every year we receive the GPPS data when it is published and it is routine that we examine and discuss the results. The practice manager comes to all of our meetings and the senior partner comes to the beginning of the meeting, genuinely involved in the discussion.

Last year our practice manager did a good comparison of our practice data with other local practices and the national average benchmarks. Mostly we seem to come out better than other practices. Usually the main use we make of the data is seeing if any change we have made in the practice has made patient perceptions better – for example the extra hour of phone cover in the morning has improved the ‘access to appointment’ score.

We also openly discuss the data evaluating the patients’ most recent doctor or nurse appointments. What usually shows up is that satisfaction with practice staff is very high, particularly the levels of satisfaction with the consultations. It’s just the waiting that is the issue.

We’ve only ever bothered to do one local opinion survey. We just gathered as many views as we could on a single day in the practice.  In the end we got all the same indications as we got from the GPPS data so it doesn’t really seem necessary to repeat the exercise.

I can honestly say that the surgery is genuinely committed to meeting the communication needs of its patients and consciously only employs people who are empathetic and care about the patients. We do know that it’s not the same in every practice - each practice has its own ethos - but that’s how we are here.

  • Summary:

    Patient Participation Group Chair Janet Norris writes about how her group uses data from the GP Patient Survey to improve their practice.

About the author

Janet Norris

Patient Participation Group Chair, Nottingham

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