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Understanding the 2024 GP Patient Survey: What's New and Why it Matters

Jul 03, 2024

Understanding the 2024 GP Patient Survey: What's New and Why it Matters

The GP Patient Survey (GPPS) has long been a cornerstone of understanding patient experiences within the UK healthcare system. As we look ahead to the 2024 survey, several significant changes have been made to ensure it remains relevant, comprehensive, and reflective of patient needs. This blog will explore what has changed in the 2024 survey, the reasons behind these changes, and the insights we can expect to gain regarding patient experience.

Key Changes in the 2024 Survey

The 2024 GP Patient Survey introduces an updated question set to better capture patient experiences with modern GP services. New questions address the ease of contacting GP practices via websites and the NHS app, reflecting the growing importance of digital health solutions. The survey now delves deeper into patients' experiences with digital contact methods, including booking appointments, accessing medical records, and using online forms for various requests. By incorporating these aspects, the survey acknowledges the shift towards digital health tools and aims to understand their impact on patient satisfaction and accessibility.

Addressing Workforce Challenges

In response to feedback from previous surveys, the 2024 survey also places a greater emphasis on understanding the challenges faced by healthcare professionals. Issues related to staff shortages and pressures on existing staff are now more thoroughly examined. This will help capture how these challenges affect patient experiences and how practices are managing these issues. Additionally, the survey aims to provide a more detailed understanding of diverse patient groups, including those with long-term conditions, carers, and individuals with specific needs. This change ensures that the survey captures a wide range of experiences and identifies any disparities in service provision.

Inclusion of New Healthcare Professional Roles

Another notable change is the focus on new healthcare professional roles. Given the increasing involvement of various healthcare professionals in GP practices, the survey now includes more specific questions about the types of professionals patients interact with, including pharmacists, mental health professionals, and nurses. This addition will provide insights into how these roles impact patient care and satisfaction.

Motivations Behind the Changes

The reasons for these changes are multifaceted. One of the primary motivations is to adapt to technological advancements in healthcare. The integration of digital health tools in GP practices has transformed patient interactions, and the survey aims to capture this transformation. By including questions about online services and apps, the survey can gather data on how these tools are being used and their effectiveness. Furthermore, the survey's updated demographic questions align with the NHS's broader goals of tackling health inequalities. By gathering more detailed data on patient backgrounds and needs, the survey supports targeted interventions to improve healthcare outcomes for all.

Expected Insights from the Survey

The insights gained from the 2024 survey are expected to be invaluable. For instance, understanding how patients use digital services and their satisfaction with these tools will help GP practices enhance their online offerings. The survey will also shed light on the extent of recruitment and retention challenges and their impact on patient care, guiding strategies to alleviate staff pressures. Moreover, analyzing responses from diverse patient groups will highlight any disparities in access to care and treatment, which is essential for developing initiatives to ensure equitable healthcare for all patients.

Measuring Core Aspects of Patient Satisfaction

As in previous years, the survey will measure core aspects of patient satisfaction, such as trust in healthcare professionals and the quality of care received. These metrics remain vital for assessing overall service performance and identifying areas for improvement. By combining these traditional measures with new, relevant questions, the 2024 survey aims to provide a comprehensive view of patient experiences and inform future improvements in GP services.

Distribution Methods for the 2024 Survey

To ensure a broad reach and high response rate, the 2024 GP Patient Survey will be distributed through multiple channels. Postal invitations will remain a primary method, with each selected patient receiving a paper questionnaire along with a prepaid return envelope. This method ensures that patients who may not have access to digital platforms can still participate. Additionally, the survey emphasizes digital participation. Patients will receive an access code in their postal invitation, which they can use to complete the survey online. Email invitations will also be sent to patients whose GP practices have up-to-date email addresses, offering a quick and direct way to access and complete the survey. SMS notifications with survey links may be used to reach patients who frequently use mobile devices, making it easy for them to respond at their convenience.

Ensuring Confidentiality and Anonymity

The GPPS ensures that all responses are kept confidential and anonymous, whether patients choose to respond via the paper questionnaire or online. This confidentiality encourages honest and open feedback, which is essential for accurately assessing patient experiences and identifying areas for improvement.

Conclusion

The 2024 GP Patient Survey is poised to offer a comprehensive look at the evolving landscape of GP services. By incorporating changes that reflect current healthcare trends and challenges, the survey will provide actionable insights to enhance patient care and address systemic issues. As we await the results, healthcare providers and policymakers can look forward to a deeper understanding of patient experiences and the means to improve them.

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