Appointments wait: patients rate surgery 'poor'
ALMOST two thirds of patients at one Downend surgery are waiting more than a week for an appointment, a survey has found.
The annual NHS GP Patient Survey, published this summer, found big variations in the time it took for people to be seen at their local practice.
At Leap Valley Medical Centre, just 7% of patients were able to book a same-day appointment, 19% waited more than a day but less than a week and 62% waited for more than a week. The numbers receiving same-day appointments or waiting longer than a week were unchanged on last year's survey.
Among patients of the Downend Health Group, which runs the Willow Surgery in Hill House Road and Christchurch Surgery in North Street, 40% were able to book a same-day appointment, 26% waited more than a day but less than a week and 30% waited for a week or more: a 1% fall in same-day appointments and a 4% rise in waits of more than a week compared with 2019.
At Emersons Green Medical Centre, 34% of patients surveyed were able to book same-day appointments – up from 25% in 2019 – 18% waited more than a day but less than a week and 46% waited more than a week, a fall from 53% last year.
Some patients responding to the survey couldn't remember the length of their wait.
Leap Valley and Emersons Green, which have merged to become Green Valleys Health, have been beset with telephone problems and 48% of Leap Valley patients described their experience of booking appointments as "poor", rising to 52% of Emersons Green patients. Some 56% of Downend Health Group patients said their experience of booking appointments was good, with 16% describing it as poor.
Just 12% of patients said it was easy to get through to Leap Valley on the phone, with 88% saying it was not easy. For Emersons Green, the split was 30% to 70% and for Downend Health Group it was 52% to 48%.
Overall satisfaction levels were 73% good and 9% poor for Downend Health Group, 58% good and 20% poor for Leap Valley, and 48% good and 32% poor for Emersons Green.
Almost 26,000 patients responded to the survey, carried out by polling group Ipsos MORI earlier this year and also included questions on out of hours and online services, as well as overall experience.
All three local surgeries had more patients describing their websites as easy to use than not easy: for Downend Health Group the split was 82% to 18%, for Leap Valley it was 53-47 and for Emersons Green it was 62-38.
Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group, which is in overall charge of funding surgeries, said 96% of patients had confidence and trust in the healthcare professionals they saw, while 90% found receptionists helpful.
CCG clinical lead Dr Geeta Iyer said: “Improving and strengthening primary care services is a high priority for us and it is more important than ever that this continues in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“During the past year our primary care networks have made great progress, bringing groups of practices together with other community services to provide co-ordinated and joined up care for people in their local areas The results of the survey are a testament to all the hard work of everyone who works in primary care, in both clinical and non-clinical roles, who continue to deliver high quality GP services for our population.”