1 Executive Summary
1.1 Over 100,000 individuals registered with a GP practice in Scotland responded to the 2013/14 Health and Care Experience Survey.
1.2 The survey asked respondents to feed back their experiences of their GP practices and out of hours care. The survey also asked about experiences of social care services and asked specific questions of those with caring responsibilities.
Experiences slightly less positive
1.3 On the whole, the majority of patients and care users report a positive experience of their care. However, an overarching finding across a number of aspects of the survey was that patients were slightly less positive about their experiences than in the previous survey in 2011/12.
1.4 Drops in the overall positive ratings for GP access and GP care are seen across NHS Boards in Scotland, suggesting that the root cause may be Scotland wide. These changes may be linked to increasing demand for services, with a trend of increasing patients contacts with GP practices.
1.5 There continued to be considerable variation in scores between individual GP practices, suggesting that patients' experiences may be very different depending on which GP practice they attend.
1.6 Accessing GP services continues to be an area of concern for respondents. Four of the five most negatively answered GP questions related to issues of access. These include being able to get through on the phone and being able to speak to a doctor or nurse within 2 working days.
1.7 Positive ratings for overall arrangements to see a doctor fell to 72%. This is down 3 percentage points from the previous survey and follows a 6 percentage point decrease from the 2009/10 survey.
Care and Treatment
1.8 As in the previous survey, patients were generally positive about the actual care and treatment they received at GP practices, with practice nurses getting particularly positive results.
1.9 Medication was another area where responses were notably positive. The four most positively answered questions relating to GP care were all in relation to medicines.
1.10 The most negative finding for GP practices related to dealing with mistakes when they occurred. Two out of every five patients that experienced a mistake in their care were not happy about how it was dealt with.
1.11 Results also suggested that more could be done to involve patients in their care, with over a third of respondents not involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment.
Out of Hours Care
1.12 Similar to other areas of the survey, results for out of hours questions are slightly less positive than in the previous survey. The overall rating of out of hours care has fallen slightly from 72% positive in 2011/12 to 71% in this survey.
1.13 The most positively rated out of hours service were Ambulance/Paramedics, who received the highest positive results for each of the questions relating to out of hours care.
1.14 A notable finding was that many respondents who receive help and support for everyday living receive this outwith formal services. 41% of respondents indicated that the help they received did not come from formal services.
1.15 Respondents who did use formal care services were positive about the care and support that they received; 84 per cent of respondents rated the overall help, care or support services as either excellent or good.
1.16 Users of care services were most positive about some person-centred aspects of care; 932% of those using care services reported that they were treated with respect. However, users of care services were least positive about coordination of health and care services. Only 8079% reported that services were well coordinated.
1.17 Services users who rated their quality of life more favourably tended to be more positive about their experiences of care services than those who rated their quality of life less favourably.
1.18 There was considerable variation between Community Health Partnerships (CHPs) on experiences of care services, especially around coordination of health and care services and on the impact of support on quality of life.
1.19 Around 15 per cent of respondents indicated that they look after or provide regular help or support to others. Of these almost 1 in 3 provided more than 50 hours care a week, a significant time commitment.
1.20 Carers' responses to specific questions regarding their experiences were mixed. Carers were most positive about spending time with other people and having a good balance between caring and other activities. On the other hand carers were most negative about the impact of caring on their health (32% indicated that caring had a negative impact). Around 1 in 5 carers felt that they did not having a say in services provided for the cared for person, that services were not well coordinated and that they did not feel supported to continue caring.
1.21 Those providing more hours of care were more negative about the balance of caring in their lives, being able to spend time with others and the impact of caring on their wellbeing compared to those providing fewer hours. However they were more positive than other groups about being able to influence services provided for the cared for person.
1.22 There was considerable variation between CHPs for all aspects of caring, but particularly on the impact of caring on health and wellbeing and having a say in services for the cared for person.
Email: Andrew Paterson
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