New research finds patient satisfaction with GP services has dropped since pre-pandemic

pharmafile | March 31, 2022 | News story | |   

GP leaders have said that it is ‘unsurprising’ that more people are dissatisfied with the NHS than are satisfied, and it should serve as a ‘wake-up call’ to the government. This follows new research which found that patient satisfaction with GP services has dropped by 30 percentage-points since before the pandemic.

The analysis looked at results from the British Social Attitudes Survey, which found that the proportion of patients satisfied with GP services went from 68% in 2019 to 38% in 2021. There were 3,112 responses to the survey which was carried out across England, Wales, and Scotland by the National Centre for Social Research in September and October last year.

Analysis of this survey by The King’s Fund and Nuffield Trust found that 42% of people were dissatisfied with GP services, and that this satisfaction level was now lower than any other NHS service, apart from dentistry.

Professor Martin Marshall, chair of the RCGP, said the college was ‘extremely disappointed and saddened’ by the findings of the survey, and that it reflected ‘a service working under crippling staffing and resource pressures following the pandemic, which has pushed general practice and the wider NHS to its limits’.

He added: ‘GPs and patients want the same thing, and we share patients’ concerns about the difficulties they face in accessing GP appointments. It is vital that today’s report is not used as another opportunity to denigrate and demoralise hardworking GP teams, but that these findings serve as a wake-up call to Government and policy makers on the need for urgent action to boost the GP workforce so that there are enough GPs and practice team members to deliver safe, timely and appropriate care to all patients.

‘The GP workforce is no longer big enough to meet demand. Successive governments have failed to invest in our service and GP numbers have declined while our workload has escalated in volume and complexity. More GPs are in training than ever before – but when more are leaving the profession than entering it, we are fighting a losing battle.’

Lina Adams

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