Will you be part of Europe’s biggest healthcare survey?

More than two million people are being given an opportunity to tell the NHS about their experiences of using services at their GP practice. The GP Patient Survey invites a sample of people aged 16 and over from over 7,000 practices across England to take part.

The survey provides detailed information about different ways people interact with primary care staff and how good that experience is. It is key to help the NHS understand what’s working well and what needs to change. Results of the 2018 survey showed 90% of patients in Southport and Formby and 83% of patients in South Sefton rated their overall experience of their GP practice as ‘Good’ (national average: 84%).

NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) either matched the national average or performed better than average for most other questions, such as helpfulness of reception staff, easy-to-use website, and experience of booking an appointment.

Results for NHS South Sefton CCG were a little below the national average for most of the questions about access and overall experience of booking an appointment. However, they performed above average for questions such as ‘Did you feel that your mental health needs were understood?’ (89% yes; national average: 87%) and ‘Have you had enough support to help you manage your long-term condition(s)?’ (80% yes; national average: 79%).

For the question ‘How was your last experience of NHS services when you wanted to see a GP but your GP practice was closed?’, 72% of South Sefton patients and 68% of Southport and Formby patients said ‘Good’ (national average: 69%).

If you have been randomly selected to take part, you will receive a letter over the next few weeks, along with a questionnaire. You can complete it by post or online until the end of March. There is a range of options to make it more inclusive for people who need support to help them take part. All the information gathered is handled securely and no-one is identified when the findings are published.

Dr Craig Gillespie, GP and acting chair for NHS South Sefton CCG said: “We want to hear about your experience of seeing all the different healthcare professionals at your GP practice. This includes on-site pharmacists, mental health specialists and practice nurses – not just GPs.”

The survey also aims to find out more about people’s experiences of using online services, telephone services as well as face-to-face appointments. It also looks at how much support people get with managing long-term conditions and medication.”

The GP Patient Survey is also a way to see how recent changes such as extended opening hours have helped. Some of these initiatives were prompted by patient feedback in previous years’ surveys.

Dr Rob Caudwell, GP and chair for NHS Southport and Formby CCG explained: “In October 2018 we launched ‘7 Day GP Service’ – for patients registered with a GP in Southport or Formby to be able to book routine, non-urgent evening and weekend appointments with a doctor, practice nurse or other healthcare professional at 107 Liverpool Road, Birkdale. South Sefton patients can do the same through ‘GP Extra’ at Litherland Town Hall, Liverpool.”

Read more about these services at www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/7-day-gp-service/ and www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/your-health-and-services/gp-extra/

Patients who are not invited to take part in this year’s survey can still provide useful feedback by filling in a Friends and Family Test form at their practice any time. It is open to everyone, any time – and every practice is involved. More than 1.2 million pieces of feedback are given through this form every month, with nine in 10 rating their experience positively.

The feedback helps NHS leaders across England to understand the current picture of healthcare, and to see where any improvements are needed.

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