GP Patient Survey results published for 2021

The GP Patient Survey, an independent survey run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England, has released its latest results for 2021.

Around 850,000 people responded to the questionnaire to rate their experiences with primary care over the last year.

The aim of the survey is for patients to be able to share their thoughts and feelings on different aspects of care provision, while the results can be used by GP practices to enhance patient experience and identify areas in their service that can be improved. The results also mean there is data available on each practice via the site, for patients and clinicians to view and compare local healthcare offerings.

For 2021, ‘headline findings’ include that the majority of patients had a ‘good overall experience’ of their GP practice – up from 82 per cent to 83 per cent over the last 12 months.

The overall responses present a widely positive picture, with results including:

  • 96 per cent said they have confidence and trust in the healthcare professional they saw
  • 94 per cent said their needs were met at their last appointment
  • 89 per cent of patients said the healthcare professional they saw was good at listening to them, while 89 per cent said they also gave them enough time
  • 93 per cent of respondents were involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment
  • 15 per cent said they had felt isolated from others in the last year – more than double the amount of the 7 per cent who said so in 2020
  • 68 per cent find it easy to get through to their practice by phone
  • 82 per cent of people were satisfied with the appointment offered, and accepted it.

Other findings of note were that of 80 per cent of patients that needed a general practice appointment in the last 12 months, 42 per cent avoided making an appointment – with 20 per cent doing so because they were worried about the burden on the NHS and 17 per cent doing so because of the risk of catching COVID-19.

In terms of the types of appointments offered, there were some notable changes. For example, when the patients asked last tried to make a GP appointment, 47 per cent received a phone appointment – a large hike from the 10 per cent who answered the same in 2020. Conversely, just 48% had their last appointment at their GP practice, compared to 85% who answered that question in 2020.

Home visits were also down by half on the previous 12 months, with 0.5 per cent of respondents having had home visits, compared to 1 per cent of patients last year. While 3 per cent had an online appointment this year, versus less than 0.5 per cent last year.

At a national level, in response to the question ‘In the last 12 months, have you had enough support from local services or organisations to help you to manage your condition (or conditions)?’, 74 per cent of patients said yes, down 3 per cent on 2020 and 5 per cent on 2018.

GP Patient Survey, which has been running since 2007, states that the “questionnaire” was also “redeveloped in 2021 to reflect changes to primary care services as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

An infographic with a national view and breakdown of the responses is available through the GP Patient Survey website, while it is also possible to look at the results by CCG and GP Practice, as well as to use the analysis tool to view results across different years and patient groups.

To find out more about the survey and view its results, click here.