1 Executive Summary
About the survey
1.1 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.
1.2 The focus of this report is on the national results of the survey. Individual reports for each GP practice, Community Health Partnerships (CHP) and NHS Board are available at: http://surveyresults.bettertogetherscotland.com.
1.3 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. At least 90 per cent of patients responded positively to all of the questions about doctors and nurses.
- Patients remained very positive about their involvement in their care and treatment. Overall 89 per cent of patients felt that the care provided by the GP surgery was excellent or good.
1.4 Patients were slightly more positive about their experiences of doctors and nurses than they were in the 2009/10 survey.
1.5 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.
1.6 Patients were most positive about the cleanliness of the GP practice, understanding how and when to take medicines and experiences of consultation with nurses and doctors.
1.7 As in the 2009/10 survey, the most negative results relate to accessing GP services:
- The question that most patients answered negatively was about trying to make an appointment with a doctor 3 or more working days in advance with 20 per cent saying that they were unable to;
- All of the bottom five results related to accessing GP services.
Referral to another NHS health professional and other local NHS services
1.8 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.
1.9 We also introduced questions in the survey about the use of other local NHS services.
- 97% of people who returned the survey had used at least one service in the last 12 months;
- GP surgery, pharmacist/chemist and NHS dentist were the most commonly used services.
1.10 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.
1.11 Scottish patients generally seem to have similar experiences to those in England, Wales and Northern Ireland:
- Approximately 90 per cent of Scottish, English, Welsh and Northern Irish patients answered positively about the care provided by their GP practice.
1.12 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.
Email: Gregor Boyd