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Dissemination Centre

The survey and the data it generates

The GP Patient Survey has been run each year since 2007. It provides the English NHS with a consistent and comprehensive set of data about patients’ experience of using their GP services.

The survey is designed and managed in a collaboration between NHS England and Ipsos MORI, a leading market research agency, with academic input from the Universities of Cambridge and Exeter. The survey is rigorously sampled to ensure that patient views are gathered from among people registered in all English GP practices and carefully validated to ensure that the data are reliable and can be used as the basis for change in GP practices.

Each year the survey is sent to about 2.1 million patients. The survey is available in British Sign Language and 15 other languages. Around 800,000 patients respond each year, either by post or online. The survey has questions on: use of practice services, experience of appointments, access and waiting time, evaluation of the last interaction with a practice doctor and/or nurse, satisfaction with opening hours and overall experience satisfaction level. The survey gathers a large amount of individual patient data including health-related quality of life measures and information about the respondent’s current use of, and satisfaction with, other healthcare services, including out-of-hours and dentistry. Demographic data by which the results can be filtered include ethnicity, working status, proximity of home to work, parental and other caring responsibilities, disability, smoking history, sexual orientation and religion.

The survey data are reported at national and practice level and are freely available and searchable online. There is no standardised requirement for how GP practices use the survey data and each practice can plan to review the survey findings as they see fit.  Survey findings form an integral part of the NHS Outcomes Framework. The survey data is a key element of the package of data that describes the practice when the Care Quality Commission is preparing to inspect a GP practice.  The ratings of the practice no longer form part of the calculation of Quality and Outcomes Framework payments to the practice and no survey data is generated at an individual doctor or nurse level.

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