Patients are happy with their GPs

Paul Cuskin
Paul Cuskin

PATIENTS have written out a prescription for success for GP surgeries in South Tyneside after a major survey by a local health watchdog.

Healthwatch South Tyneside carried out the study of access to services at all 28 doctors’ practices in the borough, which 725 patients took part in, during December and January.

The survey was commissioned by South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) following complaints about lengthy waits for appointments, and was available online as well as in GP surgeries.

It asked GP practice users a series of questions including quality of communication, appointment availability, referrals for urgent care, out-of-hours services, and involvement in decisions about healthcare.

It found above average satisfaction with GP surgeries overall, compared with NHS England statistics, as well as with how GPs involve patients in decisions about their care, telephone contact and opening hours.

However, only 60 per cent of respondents were very or fairly satisfied with telephone consultation with a GP, and only 62 per cent an usually/always get an appointment to see their own GP.

Just under three quarters of people – 74 per cent – were likely to recommend their doctor, and a similar amount – 73 per cent– saw their GP within 15 minutes of their appointment time.

But 82 per cent were very or fairly satisfied with the ease of contacting their surgery by phone and 87 per cent were very or fairly satisfied with support to manage a long term condition

Paul Cuskin, chairman of Healthwatch South Tyneside, said: “The overall picture is of high levels of satisfaction with GP services, which is positive news. Where patients would like to see improvements is in out-of-hours provision or alternative locally based services when a GP or nurse is not available.

“Other key issues identified include the lack of patient confidence in managing self-care, which is hugely significant.”