Wednesday, July 16 - South West GP services come out tops in national survey

PUBLISHED: 15:58 16 July 2008 | UPDATED: 09:18 10 June 2010

MORE patients in the South West are reporting good services from their local GP according to the results of a patient survey about access to GP services.

MORE patients in the South West are reporting good services from their local GP according to the results of a patient survey about access to GP services.

Patients are reporting higher than national average scores for GP practices in the region.

The 2007/2008 survey results highlight that the South West has performed higher than the national average for numbers of patients who are able to book their appointment in advance, with a GP of their choice, and for numbers of patients who find it easy to get through to their local Practice over the phone.

Some five million patients were canvassed with two million replying.

The results from the South West showed that on average:

* 91 per cent of patients found it easy to phone their GP practice. The national average was 87 per cent.

* 90 per cent of patients were able to get an appointment within 48 hours

of requesting one. This compared to 87 per cent nationally.

* 81 per cent of patients were able to book their appointment two days in

advance. The national average was 77 per cent.

* 91 per cent of patients were able to book an appointment with a

GP of their choice. This compared to 88 per cent nationally.

* 84 per cent of patients across the region were happy with GP opening

hours. The national average was 82 per cent.

Mike Durkin, Medical Director at NHS South West said: "I am delighted that these results show quite clearly that more patients in the South West feel that they have access to high quality GP services. But we know that more needs to be done. That is why in every Primary Care Trust across the South West a new GP led health centre will open.

"The new health centres will mean a patient can see a GP between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week 365 days a year. Patients will be able to book an appointment, or walk-in as they need, whether or not they are registered with the centre. Where possible, they will be located on the same site as other community based services such as pharmacy, social care or dentistry services.

"Every week, more and more of our GP surgeries are offering extended opening hours to ensure that they are meeting the needs of local people. We are confident that by the end of the year, 50 per cent of GP practices across the South West will be offering extended hours so that people can see their doctor at a time that suits them.

"This is about providing new, innovative and flexible services to local patients."

Health Minister Ben Bradshaw said: "The survey results are a real measure of success for those GPs and their staff who have listened to what their patients think and who have responded with even better access to GP appointments. I congratulate those practices.

"I also want to thank the two million patients who took the time to respond to the survey as these results show the difference patients' feedback can make to the services they receive.

"The NHS now needs to respond to what this latest data is telling us.

"It is clear patients increasingly need access to primary care at more convenient times. Since the survey took place over a quarter of GP practices have begun to offer extended opening hours and from 2009 the 152 new GP-led health centres around the country will continue to improve provision."

The GP Patient Survey was published by the Information Centre and can be accessed by following this link: www.ic.nhs.uk/pubs/gpps08

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