Patient experience of primary care: GP services
Last updated 29 November 2022 - see all updates
1. Main facts and figures
New data for the period 2020/21 is available if you download the data. The charts, tables and commentary on this page cover the period 2017/18 and do not include the new data.
overall, more than 4 out of 5 patients (83.8%) reported a positive experience of GP services in 2017/18
patients from the White Irish ethnic group were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to report a positive experience of their GP services in 2017/18 (at 88.0%)
patients from the Bangladeshi, Pakistani, and White Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic groups were least likely to report a positive experience of their GP services
data for 2017/18 is not comparable to previous years’ data, because changes in the ordering of questions in the GP Patient Survey were shown to have had an impact on responses
Things you need to know
Changes were made to the order of questions in the GP Patient Survey in 2017/18. Testing has since shown that respondents answer the question about satisfaction with access to their GP differently based on the preceding questions. Because of this, the data for 2017/18 is not directly comparable to previous years’ data.
Results taken from a low number of responses are more likely to be affected by statistical variation, so observed changes might not reflect real differences. 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 survey if they live in England and:
- are aged 16 years and over – however, respondents aged 16 and 17 years are not included in this data (or any other NHS Digital data)
- have an NHS number
The ethnic categories used in this data
The standardised ethnic groups based on the 2011 Census were used.
- English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British
- 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
- Any Other Asian background
- Any Other Black/African/Caribbean background
Other ethnic group:
- Any Other ethnic group
2. By ethnicity
|Mixed White/Black African||81.8|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||80.8|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)
Summary of Patient experience of primary care: GP services By ethnicity Summary
This data shows that:
- overall, 83.8% of patients reported a positive experience of GP services in 2017/18
- the patients most likely to report a positive experience of GP services were from the Irish (88.0%), African (86.3%) and White British (85.5%) ethnic groups
- the patients least likely to report a positive experience were from the Bangladeshi (72.6%), Pakistani (72.8%) and White Gypsy or Irish Traveller (72.9%) ethnic groups – though for the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group, the number of people surveyed was too small to draw firm conclusions
3. By ethnicity over time
|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|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
Summary of Patient experience of primary care: GP services By ethnicity over time Summary
Data for 2017/18 is not comparable with previous years’ data, because changes in the ordering of questions in the GP Patient Survey have been shown to have had an impact on responses.
Because of this, data for 2017/18 is excluded from this analysis.
This data shows that:
- overall, the percentage of patients reporting a positive experience of GP services fell from 88.3% in 2011/12 to 84.8% in 2016/17
- the patients most likely to report a positive experience of GP services in 2016/17 were from the Irish (88.8%), Black African (87.7%), White British (86.2%) and Other Black (87.1%) ethnic groups – these were consistently the 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 from the Bangladeshi (73.7%), Pakistani (72.3%), Indian (76.0%) and Chinese (75.8%) ethnic groups – these were consistently among the least satisfied groups over the 6 years covered
- patients from the Gypsy or Irish Traveller ethnic group were among the 3 groups least likely to report a positive experience of GP services in 4 out of the 6 years covered – though the number of people surveyed was too small to draw firm conclusions
The GP patient survey (GPPS) is the major survey of patient experience of GP services in England.
In 2017/18, approximately 2.2 million surveys were sent out and approximately 750,000 responses were received. The average response rate was 34.5%.
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 GPPS 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. These have been shown to impact on non-response bias within the GPPS.
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 1 decimal place.
NHS Outcomes Framework England, November 2018 (PDF opens in a new window or tab) (statistical commentary, PDF)
Quality and methodology information
Further technical information
NHS Outcomes Framework: Domain 4 – Ensuring that people have a positive experience of care Indicator specifications (PDF opens in a new window or tab) (PDF)
5. Data sources
Type of data
Type of statistic
Purpose of data source
Feedback from patients on their experience, treatment and care is an important source of information for helping local clinicians and managers to improve the quality of service design and healthcare.
The GP patient survey (GPPS) responses used for this measure offer healthcare providers insights that can help improve GP surgeries and the services they provide.
6. Download the data
This file contains the following: ethnicity, year, value, denominator, numerator, confidence interval, unweighted sample size