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Press release

The King's Fund responds to the 2022 GP Patient Survey results

Commenting on the 2022 GP Patient Survey results, Beccy Baird, senior fellow at The King’s Fund said:

‘For many of us, general practice is the front door to the NHS – these results show that patients are finding that door increasingly hard to push open. GPs are working harder than ever before, yet these findings show a dramatic fall in patients' experience of getting an appointment.

‘Of the more than 700,000 patients who responded to this survey, 93 per cent said that they had confidence and trust in the person caring for them at their last appointment. However, only 56 per cent reported having a good experience of making an appointment, nine percentage points worse than the 2020 results gathered before pandemic took hold. Of the people who avoided making a GP appointment at some point in the last 12 months, more than a quarter said it was because it was too difficult. There are also early signs that the pressure on GPs is affecting patients’ experience of their appointment when they get it, with a drop in the proportion of patients feeling they had enough time with their GP. The headline figures from today’s survey results also belie a patchy experience across the country. People living in more deprived areas were more likely to have a bad experience of general practice compared to those living in more affluent areas.

‘Many of the challenges patients face accessing their GP stem from the chronic staff shortages that have plagued services for years. Practices can’t recruit enough GPs, nurses or other professionals to meet the rising levels of need, because in many cases those staff simply don’t exist. There has been a failure of successive governments to adequately plan and invest in the future NHS workforce, a failure that has left GPs and patients to pick up the pieces.

‘There are no quick fixes to the crisis in general practice as it will take a long time to train and recruit new staff, but some short term improvements could be made. While the exact challenges differ from practice to practice, many GPs would benefit from having ready access to support to help them make improvements such as upgrading booking systems, implementing new technology, and making best use of their physical space.’

Notes to editors

For more information and interview requests, please contact The King’s Fund press office on 07584 146035 (does not receive text messages) or email [email protected].

In the latest British Social Attitudes survey, published earlier this year, respondents were asked what they thought should be the most important priority for the NHS. The most common answer was ‘Making it easier to get a GP appointment’ (48 per cent).

The King’s Fund is an independent charity working to improve health and care in England. We help to shape policy and practice through research and analysis; develop individuals, teams and organisations; promote understanding of the health and social care system; and bring people together to learn, share knowledge and debate. Our vision is that the best possible care is available to all.