Understanding patients’ experience of their GP practice – Frequently asked questions for patients

I have received a text message asking for feedback on my GP practice, what is this?

The NHS has introduced a new survey to help us better understand patients’ experience of contacting their GP practice. We want to understand whether the support you received from your general practice met your needs, particularly in terms of the appointments you were offered and the care you received.

Why should I fill in the survey?

Your feedback is important to help the NHS understand whether the services available are meeting your needs. Completing the survey is entirely voluntary, but we want to encourage as many people as possible to participate. This will help us identify what is working well or what might not be working as well as it should, so we can learn from your experience and make improvements.

Will my GP practice see my responses?

No, your response to the survey will be completely anonymous which means you cannot be identified by your practice. Responses to the survey will be aggregated and published on a monthly basis – this will not be for each individual practice but instead grouped into primary care networks (groups of practices working together in a local area). The results will help your practice and their local network to work together to identify what is working well from a patient perspective or what isn’t working so well so they can improve or adjust how they work to support you.

I only had a phone call with my doctor, why am I being asked to do a survey?

There have been lots of changes to the way people can access their GP practice, particularly over the last 12-18 months due to COVID, so it is really important for us to understand your experience whether that is on the phone, face-to-face or via a video link.

I have a lot of appointments at my doctors, will I be asked to complete a survey every time?

No. Our process means patients should only receive a maximum of one request per month and you can choose not to answer the survey or opt out of the survey at any time.

Which patients will be invited to complete the survey?

Any patient aged 16 or over, who has recently had contact with their practice, either through a face to face appointment, a telephone call or a video link, could be invited to take part in the survey. Patients will receive a maximum of one request per month and can opt out of receiving further surveys at any time.

My friend/relative had an appointment on the same day but hasn’t received a text. Why is that?

Not every patient will receive a request for feedback, just a representative sample of patients on any given day. You will only receive a text up to a maximum of once per month regardless of how many times you are in contact with your GP practice.

How does the survey work?

Following a contact with your GP practice (either by telephone, video link or a face to face appointment) you may receive a text message inviting you to take part in the survey which will include a link to a website. The website will contain a number of questions for you to complete, focusing on your experience of booking and completing your appointment. We will also ask some questions about you, such as your age and ethnic group, so that we can ensure the responses are representative of the broader population.

How will the results of the survey be used?

Results will be used to incentivise good practice and to support improvement where this is required. Over time, the results will also track trends of patient experience in different patient groups and enable the NHS to address inequalities.

How will my personal data be used?

Your personal data will be used in accordance with General Data Protection Regulation standards ensuring all the necessary safeguards are in place to use it securely. Survey responses remain entirely anonymous.

My friend/relative doesn’t have a mobile phone, how can they provide their feedback?

This is a new survey and currently, it is limited to only those patients with a mobile phone and internet access. However, over the next few months we will be working to understand how to make the survey accessible to all patients, including those who do not have online access or may need to use alternative formats, for example to include patients with learning disabilities or those for whom English is not their first language. Ultimately, we want to reach all patients who use general practice.

Can I be identified through the survey?

No, individual patients cannot be identified through the survey. Data from GP practices will be used securely to select patients who have had a contact with their GP practice so that we can send them a request for feedback but your responses remain entirely confidential meaning you can’t be identified.

What if I don’t want to take part?

Responding to the survey is entirely voluntary and you can choose not to answer or to opt out of receiving further invitations via text message at any time.

I have already told my GP practice I don’t want to take part in surveys or be contacted by text, will this be taken into account?

If you have already informed your practice that you don’t wish to be contacted, you will be excluded from receiving the survey.

Where can I find the results for my GP practice?

The survey is currently being tested in a few practices but once this goes live across the country for every practice, results will be published a monthly basis, grouped into primary care networks.