Satisfaction with access to GP services


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1. Main facts and figures

  • just under three-quarters of patients (72.7%) had a positive experience when making a GP appointment in 2016/2017
  • White Irish patients were the most likely to have had a positive experience of making a GP appointment, and Pakistani patients the least likely to
  • in each year from 2011/12 to 2016/2017, patients from a White Irish, Black African, White British and Any other Black background were more likely than those from other groups to report a positive experience
  • Asian patients (Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Indian and Chinese) were the least likely to report a positive experience each year from 2011/12 to 2016/2017
  • patients in the Gypsy or Irish Traveller group also had rates of satisfaction below the national average from 2011/12 to 2016/2017, although the findings are less reliable for this group because of the small numbers of respondents
Things you need to know

Bear in mind that the trends shown in the data may not extend beyond the time series of this analysis.

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 uncertainty will be highest for minority ethnic groups.

This is particularly the case for people from a Gypsy or 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 patients who had a positive experience when making an appointment to see a general practitioner (GP) in England.

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

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

Patients are eligible for this 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

This data uses the standardised ethnic groups, based on the 2011 Census:


  • English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British ("White 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 access to GP services by ethnicity

Percentage of patients reporting a positive experience of making a GP appointment by ethnicity over time
Ethnicity 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
% % % % % %
All 79.1 76.3 74.6 73.3 73.4 72.7
Bangladeshi 66.1 62.6 61.4 61.0 59.0 58.9
Chinese 68.4 68.4 65.6 63.6 63.8 62.9
Indian 67.5 63.7 63.6 60.9 63.0 61.2
Pakistani 64.0 60.8 60.3 57.1 58.5 56.4
Asian other 73.8 70.5 69.4 66.9 69.2 68.1
Black African 82.3 78.4 77.5 75.4 76.4 76.0
Black Caribbean 78.3 74.8 73.2 72.1 72.0 70.8
Black other 79.7 77.9 76.6 76.4 74.0 75.2
Mixed White/Asian 73.9 70.4 68.6 67.6 69.9 69.5
Mixed White/Black African 76.8 74.9 72.6 72.1 71.6 73.3
Mixed White/Black Caribbean 73.7 71.5 69.2 67.6 69.4 67.5
Mixed other 73.8 70.0 70.2 67.8 72.0 67.6
White British 80.3 77.4 75.5 74.4 74.5 73.8
White Irish 82.8 78.9 78.7 77.4 77.4 76.4
White Gypsy/Traveller 73.4 67.5 62.4 62.8 65.6 60.7
White other 77.2 75.2 73.9 72.1 72.5 72.0
Arab 75.2 74.5 69.5 69.2 71.8 71.3
Any other 77.4 76.5 74.8 73.2 73.0 71.8
Unknown 76.4 72.2 71.1 68.5 69.8 70.7

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


This data shows that:

  • 79.1% of patients had a positive experience of making a GP appointment in 2011/12, but that fell to 72.7% of patients in 2016/17
  • the percentage reporting a positive experience fell for all ethnic groups over this time period
  • while Irish patients were the most satisfied group from 2011/12 to 2016/17, the percentage reporting a positive experience fell from 82.8% to 76.4%
  • while Pakistani patients were the least satisfied group over the 6 years, the percentage reporting a positive experience fell from 64.0% to 56.4%

3. Methodology

The GPPS is the major survey of patient experience of GP services in England. In 2016/17, approximately 2.1 million surveys were sent out and approximately 800,000 responses received. The national 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 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, which have been shown to impact on non-response bias within the GPPS.

For further information see 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)

Indicator quality statement (PDF)

GPPS technical annex (PDF)

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

Satisfaction with access to GP services - Spreadsheet (csv) 21 KB

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