Patients encouraged to take part in the 2019 GP Patient Survey09/01/2019

From this week, more than two million people are being sent an invite to take part in the GP Patient Survey and the NHS is encouraging every invitee to share their experiences of using services at the GP practice they are registered with.

The survey provides detailed information about the range of ways people interact with primary care staff and how good that experience is. It plays a key role in understanding what’s working and what needs to improve. The survey invites a sample of people aged 16 and over from over 7000 practices across England to take part. They can complete it – by post or online – until the end of March and there is a range of options to make it more inclusive for people who need support to help them take part.

It is also a key source of information for understanding the impact of recent changes introduced in primary care, such as extended opening hours and other initiatives, which were carried out in response to what patients said in previous years’ surveys.

Those who are randomly selected to take part will receive a letter over the next few weeks, along with a questionnaire. Their information will be handled securely and no-one will be identified when the findings are published.

Olivia Falgayrac-Jones, Director of Commissioning at NHS England for Hampshire and the Thames Valley said: “If you get a survey in January, please take part as it provides vital information to help improve local services and inform national decisions. You can help by encouraging other people you know to complete it, if they’re invited. It is important for GP practices and for the wider NHS to find out what is working well and what needs improvement, so we can ensure that services keep getting better and are meeting the needs of patients.”

The questionnaire asks not just about the care provided by GPs, but also about seeing other healthcare professionals such as on-site pharmacists, mental health specialists and practice nurses. It aims to find out more about people’s experiences of using online services, telephone services and face-to-face appointments. Finally, it also looks at how much support people get with managing long-term conditions and medication.

Patients who are not invited to take part in this year’s survey can still provide useful feedback to their GP practice teams by filling in a Friends and Family Test (FFT) form at their practice any time. It is open to everyone, and every practice is involved. More than 1.2 million pieces of feedback on NHS-funded services are given this way every month and they help to continuously improve and take the pulse of healthcare across England, with nine in 10 patients who give feedback rating their experience positively.