PPG Studies and Activities

Study on patient satisfaction with GPs: summary report

Gill Walt, February 2017

The PPG undertook a small study for the Practice, based on selected results from the last national GP Patient Survey 2016 (https://gp-patient.co.uk/). The GP Patient survey found the following:

83 % JW patients said the last GP they saw or spoke to was good at listening to them (89% nationally)

76% JW patients said last GP they saw or spoke to was good at involving them in decisions about their care (82% nationally)

80% JW patients said last GP they saw or spoke to was good at treating them with care and concern (85% nationally).

The PPG undertook a small study on one morning in January 2017, and asked the same questions of patients as they exited from their GP appointment. Four PPG volunteers introduced themselves to patients, and then asked the same three questions as the GP Patient Survey:

  1. Do you feel the GP you have just seen listened to you?
  2. Do you feel the GP you have just seen involved you in decisions about your care?
  3. Do you feel the GP you have just seen treated you with care and concern?


Sixty one interviews were completed (with two refusals). Ninety seven % of interviewees answered yes to all three questions. Three % answered no to one or two questions.

The great majority of patients expressed satisfaction with their appointment. One patient said ‘The doctor was really understanding and her positive attitude about my concerns and problem made my worries disappear. The doctor was also helpful giving me clear and positive understanding about my health problem that made me feel less fearful towards the future’. Another said ‘I liked the way he looked me in the eye when I came in. Often they are glued to the computer screen, and I think you can assess a patient by the way they walk into a room’. To the third question about care and concern many added ‘definitely’, ‘yes, with a smile’, ‘110%’!

Lack of satisfaction was expressed as: poor explanation; lack of knowledge of the medical history; and in two cases there was disagreement between doctor and patient about treatment. Eg one patient wanted a blood test, which the doctor felt was unnecessary (but finally agreed to); one patient did not want a blood test, which the doctor felt was necessary!


While the positive responses are heartening, there are a number of weaknesses in the study, and with small numbers it is difficult to generalise. Of the 7 doctors on duty, two were senior GPs, the others were STI 1, 2 and 3, on six-monthly or one year contracts. There was no difference between them in patient response.

However, the PPG volunteers made a number of observations, which the Practice might take into account in the future. For example, protocol on arrival upstairs is unclear (patients registering their presence at Reception are told where to go, but those registering on-line receive no instructions beyond what office number to go to. Patients did not always know whether to wait outside the doctor’s office or to knock on the door, and there was no signage to suggest what they should do. Some doctors came to the door and invited patients in, others waited for patients to knock. One volunteer saw 3 different doctors come out and say ‘Oh, Mrs X, I didn’t realise you were there. Come in’. They noted though, that the waiting area is spacious and peaceful.

Signage is still a bit of a problem – especially for Child Services.

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