Patient experience of primary care - GP services


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1. Main facts and figures

  • a high percentage of patients (84.8%) reported a positive experience of GP services in 2016/17
  • over the 6 years presented, patients in the Irish, African, Any other Black and White British ethnic groups have shown consistently higher rates of satisfaction than other ethnic groups
  • over the same 6 years, Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian and Chinese patients were consistently less likely to report a positive experience
Things you need to know

When observing trends in these statistics, you should not infer the existence or absence of trends outside the time period covered by this measure.

These data do not allow us to assess whether observed differences between ethnic groups have occurred as a result of chance. Although the number of respondents taking part each year is relatively large (about 800,000), caution should still be used when comparing satisfaction levels between ethnic groups or over time. This is because the sample sizes for some ethnic groups may be small.

All survey estimates are subject to a degree of uncertainty as they are based on a sample of the population. The degree of uncertainty is greater when the number of respondents is small, so it will be highest for minority ethnic groups.

This is particularly the case for people from a Gypsy and Irish Traveller background. The figures for this group are based on a small number of responses, (around 200 each year) and have been variable year on year.

What the data measures

This data measures the percentage of people who have a positive experience of GP services in England. It doesn’t include GPs in hospital or other clinical settings.

The data source is the GP patient survey (GPPS), commissioned by NHS England and conducted by Ipsos MORI.

People were asked to rate their overall experience of GP services. Those who answered ‘fairly good’ or ‘very good’ were considered to have had a positive experience.

Patients are eligible for the GP patient survey if they live in England and:

  • are 18 years of age or over
  • have an NHS number
  • have been registered with a GP for 6 months
  • have not received a survey in the last 12 months
The ethnic categories used in this data

The standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 census were used.


  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
  • Irish
  • Gypsy, Traveller or Irish Traveller
  • Any other White background

Mixed/Multiple ethnic groups:

  • White and Black Caribbean
  • White and Black African
  • White and Asian
  • Any other Mixed/Multiple ethnic background

Asian/Asian British:

  • Indian
  • Pakistani
  • Bangladeshi
  • Chinese
  • Any other Asian background

Black/African/Caribbean/Black British:

  • African
  • Caribbean
  • Any other Black/African/Caribbean background

Other ethnic group:

  • Arab
  • Any other ethnic group

2. Satisfaction with GP services by ethnicity

Percentage of patients reporting a positive experience of GP services by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
% % % % % %
All 88.3 86.7 85.7 84.8 85.2 84.8
Bangladeshi 78.1 74.9 75.7 73.7 73.1 73.7
Chinese 77.4 78.0 77.9 77.0 77.9 75.8
Indian 79.0 76.9 76.6 74.9 76.4 76.0
Pakistani 77.0 74.7 74.8 72.6 73.8 72.3
Asian other 82.9 80.5 80.4 78.4 80.7 80.2
Black African 89.9 88.4 88.0 87.1 87.5 87.7
Black Caribbean 88.0 85.7 85.4 84.6 84.9 84.5
Black other 88.5 88.1 87.4 86.6 86.7 87.1
Mixed White/Asian 81.4 81.1 81.6 78.4 80.8 80.7
Mixed White/Black African 82.4 83.9 86.2 81.8 79.8 85.6
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 84.5 81.1 80.8 78.2 81.3 80.2
Mixed other 84.4 80.3 80.9 80.4 79.2 79.9
White British 89.5 88.0 86.8 86.1 86.6 86.2
White Irish 90.8 88.7 89.3 88.1 88.8 88.8
White Gypsy/Traveller 81.7 76.5 81.0 71.6 72.2 75.6
White other 82.4 81.2 80.4 79.2 79.5 78.8
Arab 83.9 80.9 80.2 78.1 83.4 79.1
Any other 85.1 84.9 84.0 83.3 83.3 82.5
Unknown 86.1 83.0 82.6 81.7 82.2 83.6

Download table data for ‘Satisfaction with GP services by ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘Satisfaction with GP services by ethnicity’ (CSV)

Summary of Patient experience of primary care - GP services Satisfaction with GP services by ethnicity Summary

This data shows that:

  • the patients most likely to report a positive experience of GP services in 2016/17 were Irish (88.8% did so), African (87.7%), White British (86.2%) and those from the Any Other Black ethnic group (87.1%) – all in the top 4 most satisfied groups over the 6 years covered, though not always in the same order
  • the patients least likely to report a positive experience of GP services in 2016/17 were Bangladeshi (73.7% did so), Pakistani (72.3%), Indian (76.0%) and Chinese (75.8%) – all consistently among the least likely to report a positive experience over the 6 years covered
  • Gypsy or Irish travellers were in the 3 least likely groups to report a positive experience in 4 out of the 5 most recent years, though these results should be treated with caution as few in this group took part in the survey
  • the percentage of patients reporting a positive experience of GP services fell over the 6 years from 88.3% in 2011/12 to 84.8% in 2016/17
  • over the same period, the difference between the most and least satisfied ethnic groups increased from 13.8 percentage points in 2011/12 to 16.5 percentage points in 2016/17

3. Methodology

The GP patient survey is the major survey of patient experience of GP services in England.

In the most recent data period, 2016/17, approximately 2.1 million surveys were sent out and approximately 800,000 responses were received. The average response rate was 37.5%.

Respondents can respond either by post, online or by phone. They may request a questionnaire in a different language, in braille or online using sign language.

All surveys carry the risk of biased results if some types of people are less likely to respond than others. To compensate for this, data from the GP Patient Survey is weighted to account for this non-response bias. This adjusts the data to account for potential differences between the demographic profile of all eligible patients in a practice and the patients who actually complete the questionnaire. The non-response weighting scheme has been developed by Ipsos MORI, incorporating elements such as age and gender as well as factors from the area where the respondent lives such as level of deprivation, ethnicity profile, ACORN classification and so on, which have been shown to impact on non-response bias within the GP Patient Survey.

For further information see the NHS England's GP Patient Survey website.

Suppression rules and disclosure control

Data is suppressed if fewer than 10 people answer the question in a particular group. This is to protect the confidentiality of respondents.


Values are presented to one decimal place.

Related publications

The release of the indicator file is accompanied by a statistical commentary

Further technical information

Indicator specification (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

Indicator quality statement (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

GPPS technical annex (PDF opens in a new window or tab)

4. Data sources


Type of data

Survey data

Type of statistic

National Statistics


NHS Digital

Publication frequency


Purpose of data source

As a way of acknowledging the importance of providing a positive experience of care for patients, service users and carers, it is now standard practice in healthcare systems worldwide to ask people to provide direct feedback on the quality of their experience, treatment and care. This is used alongside additional information sources to provide local clinicians and managers with intelligence on the quality of local services from the patients’ and service users’ point of view to ultimately play a role in driving improvements in the quality of service design and delivery.

The GP Patient Survey has been designed to give patients the opportunity to feed back about their experiences of their GP surgery across a variety of issues. Replies to the survey are intended to help GP surgeries understand where they can improve.

5. Download the data

Patient experience of primary care - GP services - Spreadsheet (csv) 22 KB

This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, denominator, numerator, confidence interval, unweighted sample size