News

Satisfaction with GPs falls in NHS area covering Barnet

68.6% of patients in the area said they had a very good or fairly good overall experience with their GP service reports Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

A doctor holding a stethoscope to the arm of a patient
Nationally, 71.3% of patients said they had a good overall experience with their GP practice this year, a significant fall from 82.9% pre-pandemic – (Credit – Radar)

Patient satisfaction with GP services in the NHS area covering Barnet fell this year, new figures show.

The Royal College of GPs said the numbers – which show a continuing national decline in patient satisfaction – portray an “over-stretched and over-burdened” service.

The survey carried out between January and April this year reveals 68.6% of patients in the NHS North Central London Integrated Care Board said they had a very good or fairly good overall experience with their GP service – down from 69.9% 2022.

It was also a fall from pre-pandemic levels when the 2019 report found 78.2% were happy with their GP practice.

In 2023, 15.3% of patients said they had a fairly poor or very poor experience, while 16.1% patients said their experience was neither good nor bad.

Dr Michael Mulholland, honorary secretary of the RCGP, said the survey finding reflect an “over-stretched and over-burdened” service where staff are providing a positive experience for patients despite intense workloads and pressures.

“It is always difficult to hear when patients report unsatisfactory experiences or have difficulties accessing our services. Yet we do share their frustrations – GPs and our teams want to be able to deliver safe, timely and appropriate care for their patients,” he said.

Dr Mulhollan added the service needs to see significant investment alongside curbing the rate of GP turnover and bolstering the workforce with young GPs.

“Our priority should be to alleviate the pressures on GP teams, allowing them to do what they do best – caring for their patients,” he said.

Nationally, 71.3% of patients said they had a good overall experience with their GP practice this year, a significant fall from 82.9% pre-pandemic.

Meanwhile, the proportion of patients who reported a poor experience has risen from 6.5% in 2019 to 14.2% this year.

An NHS England spokesperson said: “While GP teams are experiencing record demand for their services – delivering half a million more appointments every week compared to before the pandemic, this survey has found that the majority of patients have a good overall experience at their GP practice.”

They added the NHS acknowledges more action is needed to improve access for patients.

It launched a new plan in May with more help available at local pharmacies, more options to self-refer and greater use of technology to end the 8am ‘rush’ for appointments.

At north central London GP practices

In 2023:

  • 47.6% said it was not easy to get through to someone at their GP practice on the phone.
  • 41.2% said it was not easy to use their GP’s website to look for information or access services
  • 22.1% said their practice’s receptionists were not helpful.
  • 25.8% were dissatisfied with appointment times.

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