Case Studies

Back to uses

NHS Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group

Background

As a CCG, the GP Patient Survey (GPPS) data is reviewed to monitor performance of practices within our area to help make commissioning decisions. The Gloucestershire Patient Participation Group (PPG) Network was established to provide a regular forum for PPGs to come together to receive information, to share learning and to network, all with the purpose of improving patients’ experience of primary medical services in Gloucestershire. The network is made up of 75 GP practices.

Action

For the past two years, since the PPG Network was established, members have received an annual presentation on the GPPS. The first year’s presentation, made by the CCG’s lead for engagement and experience, focussed on the CCG’s overall performance and encouragement for PPGs to go back to their individual practices to discuss their local results with the practice team to identify areas for improvement focus.

The second year’s presentation, made by members of the NHS national GPPS team, again looked at the CCG’s overall results, but also provided a live demonstration of the GPPS analytical tool. The presentation focussed in particular on the changes to GPPS in 2018 and the rationale for the changes. PPG members were encouraged to take part in a lively Q&A session and provide feedback to the national team about potential improvements to the GPPS next year.

Outcome

The network has been a great way for the CCG to engage PPGs in using survey data. PPGs took away an increased understanding of how to best use the survey data, as well as about the running of the survey. The national team received constructive and practical feedback from the PPGs, which will be used to inform future developments of the GPPS. For example, suggesting ways the GPPS practice comparison tool could be improved to make it more helpful to PPGs.

University of Exeter Collaboration for Academic Primary Care (APEx)

Background

Do difficulties in accessing in-hours primary care predict higher use of out-of-hours GP services? Evidence from an English National Patient Survey.

Some patients are more likely to use out-of-hours primary care services because of difficulties in accessing in-hours care. This study aimed to review whether evidence supports this.

Action

We analysed data from 567,049 respondents to the 2011/2012 English General Practice Patient Survey who reported at least one in-hours primary care consultation in the preceding 6 months. Of those respondents, 7% also reported using out-of-hours primary care.

Outcome

Out of hours visits are more commonly reported in practices where patients also report more difficulty in getting appointments during normal working hours. The convenience of opening hours was the strongest single predictor of use of out of hours care. However, this relationship was strongest for people not in work, suggesting that it may be more important to improve access during normal hours than to provide extended opening hours in GP practices.

You can see further information about this research including the full citation here.

Gloucestershire PPG (Patient Participation Group)

Background

When looking at the results of the GP Patient Survey I noticed that only 4% of our patients had a copy of their treatment plan even though 75% of patients said they had an agreed plan and 71% of patients felt it was helpful. This was in contrast to our sister surgery where 43% of patients said they had a copy of their plan.

Action

We decided to add this to the Action Plan for this year, recommending that the surgery adopt the procedure that the sister surgery uses to make sure that all patients have a copy of their treatment plan, and that the PPG would support this.

Outcome

If I hadn’t noticed this in the practice’s survey results it would never have been known that patients weren’t being given copies of their treatment plans. The PPG had never had any feedback on this, probably because most patients don’t know that they can have a copy of their treatment plans. It was solely because of the GP Patient Survey that the PPG found out about this and was able to recommend to the practice that they change how they communicate the treatment plans with their patients.

NHS England

Background

Public satisfaction with general practice remains high, but in recent years patients have increasingly reported, through the GP Patient Survey, more difficulty in accessing services including a decline in good overall experience of making an appointment in general practice. In 2016/17, 11%, (1 in 10) reported not being able to get appointment and the likelihood of getting a convenient appointment was lower if you are in work or young.

Action

NHS England introduced the Prime Ministers Challenge Fund, later the GP Access Fund, to test out new ways to improve access to general practice, including offering evening and weekend appointments and other more innovative ways to access services. 57 schemes across England piloted new ways of working during 14/15 and 15/16 and implementing improved access to general practice subsequently became a requirement for all CCGs in the NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2017-19 and refreshed planning guidance issued in February 2018.

Outcome

Everyone across the country now has more timely and convenient access to general practice services, including in the evenings and weekends. CCGs are now focused on ensuring that the new services are advertised to patients and integrated with services such as NHS111 and urgent care. For more information about this programme please go to: www.england.nhs.uk/improving-access


Nuffield Trust/NHS England

Background

In 2018, NHS England commissioned the Nuffield Trust to conduct a project to investigate the impact of improved access upon continuity of care.

Action

Nuffield Trust conducted analysis of data from the GP Patient Survey along with a rapid literature review, interviews with providers and commissioners, site visits to services seeking to combine access and continuity, meetings with clinicians, managers, academics and policy-makers.

Outcome

A report “Improving access and continuity in general practice” including an evidence review and summary have been produced with findings and recommendations for commissioners and policy makers. The report sets out a number of strategies that can be adopted to promote continuity of care, while improving access. You can find the full report here.


NHS England

Background

Ensuring everyone can access services on an equal footing is a key priority for the NHS. One of the seven core requirements for implementing improved access, as set out in the NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2017-19, is to address issues of inequalities in patients’ experience of accessing general practice, identified by local evidence including GPPS data, and put actions in place to resolve this.

Action

To support commissioners and providers of general practice services to address inequalities, NHS England has produced a practical resource – Improving Access for all: reducing inequalities in access to general practice services – which aims to promote understanding of groups in the community who are experiencing barriers in accessing services and help to address those barriers as improvements in access to general practice services are implemented. The narrative uses evidence from GPPS data and provides links to case studies and resources to support CCGs in addressing inequalities in access to general practice.

Outcome

The resource is available for providers and commissioners to support them conducting equality and health impact assessments locally and develop an action plan to address inequalities. An animation is available here to support use of the resource.

Wessex Local Medical Committees (LMC)

Background

Wessex LMCs run a series of training sessions for GP practice managers. One session is called ‘How are we doing?’ and looks to support practice managers in benchmarking, interpreting and understanding performance data about their practice and also how others, such as commissioners and the public, view and use this data.

Many practice managers can find the sheer volume of data available overwhelming and are not sure where or how to start. Others are looking for the session to update them on the sources available and how to use them in context.

This session includes a section on the use of patient data and in particular the GPPS.

Action

With regards to GPPS, the website was shared with the delegates and three examples of results from the GPPS were viewed (print offs of anonymised practices) and the delegates were asked to review the data and make judgements on what the information told them about each practice. This was then discussed as a group.

The pros, cons and limitations of the data set were discussed and how this information can be put into context with other datasets. In particular, using the patient survey as a tool to identify issues (such as difficulties getting through on the telephone or access to a GP) and using it as evidence for a need to change in the development of business cases.

The discussions also included how commissioners and the public use this data to benchmark the practice against others.

Outcome

The practice managers taking part became more aware of the content of the GPPS and how the data could be used for positive change. They became more aware of the limitations of the data and how others view it.

Have you used GP Patient Survey data?

We would love to hear from you. Email the Ipsos MORI GP Patient Survey team on the email below to share.

GPPatientSurvey@ipsos.com