These results are from the 2011/12 Scottish Patient Experience Survey of GP and Local NHS Services. This is a postal survey which was sent to a random sample of patients who were registered with a GP in Scotland in October 2011. The survey was completed by 145,569 respondents.
The experiences of Scottish GP patients in 2011/12 are similar to those reported for 2009/10:
Patients were mainly positive about their experience of consultation with doctors or nurses. Patients remained very positive about their involvement in their care and treatment.
Patients were slightly more positive about their experiences of doctors and nurses than they were in the 2009/10 survey.
Patients were less positive about their experiences of accessing GP practice services - there was a decrease in the percentage of patients rating the overall arrangements for seeing doctors and nurses as good or excellent. This decrease was seen across almost all NHS Boards. As in 2009/10 there was considerable variation in the results for individual GP practices on patients’ experiences of the overall arrangements for seeing doctors.
As in the 2009/10 survey, the most negative results relate to accessing GP services.
For the first time we asked patients to rate the referral arrangements to see another NHS health professional; 76 per cent of patients who were referred by their GP in the last twelve months to see another NHS professional rated the referral arrangements as excellent or good, with 8 per cent rating the arrangements as poor or very poor.
The survey also asked about patients use and experience of out-of-hours services.
Of patients surveyed, 26 per cent had tried to get medical help, treatment or advice, for themselves or someone they were looking after, when their GP surgery was closed;
Of patients seeking help out of hours, 69 per cent spoke to NHS 24 first. More than half of patients seeking help out of hours were treated by an out-of-hours service or in A&E/ Casualty;
Patients were generally positive about their experiences of out-of-hours healthcare with 72 per cent rating their overall care they received as good or excellent. However 11 per cent of patients rated the overall care as poor or very poor.
Scottish patients generally seem to have similar experiences to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Scotland generally performs favourably compared to other countries included in the 2010 Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey. Doctor patient communication, such as involvement in care decisions and opportunity to ask questions about treatment, were areas where Scotland did well.