Call for GPs to make sharing feedback easier for patients
We know that people want to give feedback about their local GP surgeries to help make care better, but many simply don’t know how.
A poll we conducted with YouGov found that 76% of the adults in England we surveyed said they would be interested in sharing their feedback with GPs to improve services, but only 23% had actually done so. The most common reason for this was that patients were unsure how to provide comments and raise concerns (37%).
Of those who had provided feedback to their family doctor, the most popular way of speaking up was through a comments box (44%), followed by face-to-face feedback to GP practice reception staff (18%) and to GP themselves (16%).
When people who had never provided feedback were asked which methods would encourage them to do so in future, 30% said they were most likely to respond to text or email follow-ups after a consultation, with 28% again opting for a comments box.
Social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook were the least popular option, with just 3% of people who had provided feedback choosing to do so this way. Only 12% of those interested in giving feedback in the future said they would consider using such channels. This would suggest that people want to be able to communicate via confidential channels when sharing feedback with GPs.
As part of our #ItStartsWithYou campaign, we’re calling on GP practices to encourage people to share their views, and to let them know the simple ways in which they can do so, including speaking to their local Healthwatch.
Imelda Redmond, National Director of Healthwatch England, said:
“Up and down the country it is clear that people value their local doctors’ surgeries and can see the pressure they are under. It is also clear they want to do their bit to help by sharing their experiences.
"People tell us they want providing feedback to be simple, clear and confidential. Healthwatch is here to help busy surgeries not only improve how they seek feedback but also help GPs and practice managers explain how this insight is being used to give people the care they want.”
What did others say in response?
Dr Richard Vautrey, British Medical Association GP Committee Chair, said:
"GPs value the daily feedback they receive from their patients in consultations and comments provided in the surgery. They always want to do the best for their patients and work in partnership with them, welcoming comments from patients about what is working well in the practice as well as good ideas about how services could improve.
"We particularly value the support of patients in working with us to highlight the impact of years of restricted funding on general practice and the wider NHS."
Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, said:
"GPs are under a lot of pressure but it is important that they are open to feedback and complaints so that they can improve patient care. Our casework shows that almost half of GP practices we review are not handling complaints well enough.
"We want to help practices get better at listening and responding to concerns and complaints to help reduce overall pressures."
The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.
You can make a difference. Find out more about our #ItStartsWithYou campaign or share your experience with your local Healthwatch and help make services better for your community. It starts with you.