PRIMARY CARE IN BASSETLAW: PUBLIC QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Bassetlaw GP Services – Appointment Numbers and Satisfaction

During the pandemic and particularly since the end of the last lockdown, there has been a great deal of regional and national media attention around access to GP appointments. This attention has both focussed on the availability of urgent appointments and how those appointments are delivered – whether face to face, over the telephone or by video consultation etc. Many people rely on general practice as their entry point to the NHS & it is also the provider of the majority of immunisation, vaccination and screening campaigns, including most recently the highly successful Covid vaccination campaign.

 

The information below tries to answer the questions most frequently asked.  

 

Are GPs still seeing patients?

Yes - The figures below show the numbers of appointments recorded per month from April to September 2021. As can be seen Bassetlaw GPs record around 50,000 to 60,000 appointments per month (in total there are about 120,000 people in Bassetlaw). September figures show more than 60,000 appointments were attended in primary care. All Bassetlaw Practices have their doors physically open and their phone lines staffed, though we all recognise that due to the number of patients calling, it can be difficult to get through.

 

As can be seen Bassetlaw GPs do provide more appointments per 1000 patients than the England average. Numbers dropped early in the pandemic before returning to (and often exceeding) pre-pandemic levels.  The number of overall appointments increased by 29% between August and September.

Total GP Appointments

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Grand Total

England

23802512

23423419

26711452

25535481

23753983

28467147

151693994

NHS Bassetlaw CCG

50108

51752

58363

56083

50572

61264

328142

 

Total GP Appointments per 1,000 patients

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Grand Total

England

394.82

388.14

442.20

423.16

392.29

469.18

2513.80

NHS Bassetlaw CCG

416.68

429.81

483.67

463.90

417.67

505.35

2714.30

 

Are GPs seeing patients on the same day the patient contacts the surgery?

Bassetlaw GPs see just less than half of all patients on the day they contact the surgery – this is higher than the national average.

Total Same Day Appts

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Grand Total

England

179.33

174.01

201.66

191.96

181.80

202.60

1126.99

NHS Bassetlaw CCG

195.62

200.84

226.35

209.10

194.06

240.19

1261.35

 

Are GPs dealing with more patients by phone now than face to face ?

GPs still deal with more patients face to face than by phone, but it is true to say that the number of phone consultations has increased, especially since the pandemic hit. Bassetlaw GPs do offer a lot more telephone slots than elsewhere, while offering slightly fewer face to face consultations than average. This does increase the total amount of appointments available and it does help ‘on the day’ access, but it also means the phone lines are busy and we know it isn’t what everyone would choose.

Total Telephone Appts per 1,000 patients

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Grand Total

England

160.61

156.03

175.20

166.33

150.74

165.57

975.94

NHS Bassetlaw CCG

205.35

206.96

233.72

207.61

189.11

214.51

1255.78

 

Total Face to Face Appts per 1,000 patients

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Grand Total

England

216.54

215.88

248.87

242.14

226.44

285.15

1437.41

NHS Bassetlaw CCG

200.00

211.57

238.27

242.86

215.22

277.74

1384.42

 

Practices constantly review the need to balance rapid on the day access and the choice of many patients for virtual consultations as well as patient choice for face to face consultations. There has been a gradual shift back to face to face consultations and in September this increased substantially. In response to local patient requests and where clinically indicated, local GPs increased Face to Face appointments by over 29% between August and September.

 

Do Bassetlaw patients have access to good quality primary care services?

Yes. Bassetlaw recently won TWO national awards for the quality of services, including one based on patient satisfaction as to whether their needs were met at their last general practice appointment.

 

Bassetlaw GPs remain above average for patient satisfaction in most questions posed as part of a national independent survey.  Of those patients responding to the survey, 85% describe their overall experience of general practice as ‘good’ compared to 83% nationally.

 

Receptionists were described as helpful 91% of the time, compared to 89% of the time nationally.

 

However, partly as a result of the heavy use of phones described above, Bassetlaw does benchmark lower than the national average based on responses to the question “how easy was it to get through on the telephone”. Only 60% of patients in Bassetlaw describe getting through as easy, compared to 68% across the country.

 

We are very much aware of this and are trying to work through solutions, for example additional phone lines, cloud based services & other ways of making contact (e.g. via e-mail) or potentially an off-site telecentre solution.

 

Does General Practice offer value for money ?

It is very difficult to directly compare General Practice in the UK with other countries, as health service models vary widely, but we believe our general practice represents outstanding value for the public purse.

 

Do local practices deliver COVID vaccinations?

In the immediate response to the pandemic, our local networks of Bassetlaw GPs (called Primary Care Networks, PCNs) opted to help deliver the covid vaccine from local hubs.  This was to ensure local people could access this important service close to where they lived.  This has proved to be an outstanding success and has helped ensure that the majority of eligible Bassetlaw patients have been vaccinated.  Bassetlaw PCNs continue to perform well in comparison with peers and are working hard to continue to encourage uptake wherever possible.  Whilst this additional work initially put further strain on the ability of practices to deliver all the services they would wish to this service is now well embedded.  Our PCNs are hopeful that our winter Flu vaccination campaign can be equally as successful to keep our community safe and well over the coming months.