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The GP: “We work out what we can do to improve the scores”

Date: 21 March 2017

Category: GP patient survey

At Westlands we use the GPPS data as part of our overall commitment to the quality of what we do.  When the data is published we discuss it at our partners’ meetings, where we can talk with the senior nurses and the practice manager. 

We have to look at it critically and decide how much of what it tells us is within our control.  For example waiting times – we consider whether that is something we can influence by re-jigging the appointment system or opening up appointments at different times.

We also look carefully at the information about the patients’ satisfaction with nurse and GP consultations and work out what we can do to improve those scores. It’s always a careful balancing act really, trying to appease patients and make sure they get the best experience possible but also to try and run the service and make sure you’re not trying to improve things in one area to the detriment of another.

Last year the Clinical Commissioning Group gave us comparative data and encouraged us to see how we compared with other local surgeries.  We were keen to make sure that we didn’t have any ‘outlying’ data that needed attention and at the same time looked for positives that we could feed back to particular staff groups – for example, the very high ratings that our practice nurses get. We know that when we are next inspected by the CQC they will expect us to be familiar with the GPPS data and to have acted upon it.

There are other sources of patient feedback, of course. We keep a close eye on the comments our patients leave on the ‘reviews and ratings’ page of the NHS Choices website and respond to them. The ‘friends and family test’ data is used for CQC inspection records. We also have a feedback book on reception – the comments that patients leave for us are constantly reviewed and acted upon. We just try to make sure that there is a clear loop of communication between the patients, the clinicians and the management team.

I know that some people are sceptical about the GPPS because the data is at the practice level and not about individual doctors and nurses. But we do separate questionnaires about our consultations as part of our revalidation every five years, so we just focus on using the GPPS information for sensible, practical quality improvements.

  • Summary:

    Dr Chris Castle discusses his practice's use of the GP patient survey data.

About the author

Dr Chris Castle

General Practitioner, Westlands Medical Centre, Portchester

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