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What do patients think?

Patient surveys reveal positive views about GP services. But good data was not available for other services.

Patient experience: General Practice

In the National Survey of Wales, around 10,000 people gave their views on GP appointments in 2016-17:

  • 90% were satisfied with GP care.
  • 96% felt treated with dignity and respect at their GP appointment.
  • 86% felt they were given the information they needed at their appointment.
  • 79% felt the GP knew all relevant information about the patient.

Patient experience: Dentistry,  optometry and community pharmacy

Many of these services carry out local surveys of patient experience but we were not able to find a collated picture of the results at an all Wales level.

Quick and easy access

  • The National Oral Health Plan for Wales [PDF opens in new window] highlights as a key issue ‘patchy access’ to NHS dentistry. A Welsh Government report from 2017 [PDF opens in new window] said access to NHS dental care has improved significantly in recent years but there are areas of Wales where access remains difficult and some where it has ‘slipped back’.
  • The Prioritised Eye Care Plan [PDF opens in new window] describes progress improving access to eye care services in Wales. Actions have included new pathways to help patients access eye care closer to home, awareness raising and signposting, as well as training of primary care staff.
  • Work is ongoing in Wales to look at the definition of ‘good access’. The national plan is for a multidisciplinary primary care team, so it will be important for patients to have good access to the appropriate member of that team. The new definition of ‘access’ may not mean access to appointments – it might mean access to email advice or on the telephone, or a home visit.

Booking appointment impossible. Frustrating not being able to see same Dr, especially with ongoing medical condition.

Appointment times not long enough. Feel rushed out of the door each time, so not all problems discussed.

Appointments – can get one for the day but getting a routine appointment ahead is difficult.

GP practice opening times

GP data shows a gradual trend [PDF opens in new window] in increasing opening times and availability of appointments during normal opening hours (8am to 6.30pm), although weekend appointments remain rare. Weekend and evening appointments (after 6.30pm) are not part of the General Medical Services contract but where there is a specific need, health boards can fund them as part of an Extended Opening Hours Directed Enhanced Service. See more data on GP practice appointments and opening times here [opens in new window].

GP out-of-hours services

When GP surgeries close, patients with urgent healthcare needs will need to contact their local GP out-of-hours service. Having effective out-of-hours services is an important part of the NHS’s ability to respond to urgent care demand. The Auditor for General for Wales will publish a detailed report on GP out-of-hours later in 2018.

The out-of-hours period

Plus weekends and public holidays

How do GP out-of-hours services work?

Services work slightly differently in different areas. Here's a typical way in which they work.

0.6 million

people contact GP
out-of-hours every year

Calling your GP

People call their GP surgery's number,

or

the GP out-of-hours service's direct number,

or

in some areas people can now call 111.

Recorded message

A welcome message signposts patients to alternative services.

Hold the line to speak to the GP
out-of-hours service.

Call taking

The call is answered by a trained call handler. They ask what the problem is.

Call back

A doctor, nurse or paramedic calls the patient back.

Advice or Appointment

Some patients are advised to self-care, others are visited at home or come to a primary care centre to be seen.

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