Satisfaction with access to GP services
1. Main facts and figures
- overall, just over two-thirds of patients (68.7%) had a positive experience when making a GP appointment in 2017/18
- patients from the Black African ethnic group were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to have had a positive experience of making a GP appointment – those from the Pakistani group were the least likely to
- 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 in the GP Patient Survey 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 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
This data uses the standardised ethnic groups, based on the 2011 Census:
- English/Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish/British ("White 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||65.9|
|Mixed White/Black Caribbean||64.1|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity’ (CSV)
This data shows that:
- overall, 68.7% of respondents had a positive experience of making a GP appointment in 2017/18
- Black African respondents were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to be satisfied with their experience of making a GP appointment, with 73.4% reporting a positive experience
- respondents from the Pakistani ethnic group were the least likely to be satisfied, with 54.6% reporting a positive experience
3. By ethnicity over time
|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|
Download table data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV) Source data for ‘By ethnicity over time’ (CSV)
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, 72.7% of people had a positive experience of making a GP appointment in 2016/17, down from 79.1% in 2011/12
- the percentage of people reporting a positive experience fell for all ethnic groups between 2011/12 and 2016/17
- in every year between 2011/12 and 2016/17, people in the White Irish ethnic group were the most likely out of all ethnic groups to report a positive experience, although the percentage fell from 82.8% to 76.4% during that time period
- in every year during the same period, people in the Pakistani ethnic group were the least likely to report a positive experience, with the percentage doing so also falling from 64.0% to 56.4%
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 received. The national 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, which have been shown to impact on non-response bias within the GPPS.
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 given to 1 decimal place.
NHS Outcomes Framework England, November 2018 (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)
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: measure, ethnicity, year, value, confidence intervals (lower bound, upper bound).