Filton GP practice: we’ve made big strides since patient survey
Published on: 16 Aug 2016
A local doctors’ surgery has responded robustly to a survey which ranked the practice as one of the lowest in South Gloucestershire.
The GP Patient Survey, conducted on behalf of NHS England, revealed that 71 per cent of Stoke Gifford and Conygre Medical Centre’s patients deemed their experience “good” with 68 per cent saying that they would recommend the surgery.
Patients of the Concord Medical Centre, which until 2013 had a surgery in Filton, and Northville Family Practice on Filton Avenue were also surveyed. Ninety per cent of their patients felt that they had a good experience, and 84 per cent (Concord) and 78 per cent (Northville) said that they would recommend the surgeries.
Out of the 243 surveys which were posted out to patients of Stoke Gifford/Conygre, 102 responded. Ninety per cent felt that they had confidence and trust in the last GP they saw. However, only 16 per cent said that they get to see their preferred GP.
Other areas identified as needing improvement included making appointments and telephone access, which under half of the patients surveyed felt were satisfactory.
A spokesperson from Stoke Gifford and Conygre Medical Centre has told Filtonvoice that the results are “disappointing”, and reflect a time before a number of improvements were made at the surgery.
Gavin Richards, business manager at the practice, added that the data is also based on a low response rate, as less than 1% of their patients filled out the questionnaire.
Mr Richards says that over the last 10 months, the practice has been carrying out its own survey to gauge its patients’ experience.
Five-hundred patients have been surveyed, with 83 per cent saying that they would recommend the surgery.
He said: “We are disappointed by our ranking in the recent GP survey - particularly when considering the dedication and commitment of all of our staff to the patients and the excellent feedback that we get.
“The surveys were conducted in mid 2015 and early 2016 and most of these responses seem to reflect experiences of the practice at a time prior to a number of improvements being made.”
Changes to the surgery have included upgrading and adding clinical space, including a lift at Conygre Road; recruiting reception staff and installing additional phone lines to meet the demand at peak times; increasing the number of GP partners; extending opening hours for people who work full-time; adding e-consultations to their website for those that need advice but struggle to get away from work; tracking when appointments have not been given and following up with vulnerable patients; and introducing a minor injury walk-in service.
Improving telephone access remains a priority for the surgery and it will be consulting with patients about this issue in the near future.
Mr Richards says that surgery is doing the best it can at a time where funding is being reduced, demand is increasing, and there is a shortage of GPs across the country.
He said: “We have to do more for less and there is a shortage of clinicians to do the work.
“To allow us to survive in this environment, systems needed to change and will continue to do so as we look ahead and prepare for an increasingly difficult future with an aging population and increased chronic disease rates.
“Despite all of the pressures that General Practice, and the wider NHS is under, we feel that the practice is well positioned to cope with these challenges and to continue to provide great care.
“We hope that we’ve been able to give a more accurate reflection of how the practice is doing and demonstrates the improvements that we are making.”
Filtonvoice requested the views of patients on Filton News and Views Facebook page. The responses revealed that while people are happy with the surgery, making an appointment is difficult.
Howard Bowker said: “I attend Conygre Road and have no complaints. Reception staff are helpful and courteous. Some Patients there need to realise that it is not always necessary to see a doctor. Practice nurses are always capable. Pharmaceutical staff also provide a good service. I am not convinced that such surveys present a balanced view.”
Sue Packham said: “The biggest problem I have is actually making an appointment. I am at work when the reception opens in the morning and can’t use a phone at work. Even getting a non-urgent appointment in advance is difficult.”
Jayne Bakos said: “Have to say apart from struggling to get through on the phone I’ve always been impressed with everyone at both Filton and Conygre surgeries and I think the online service should alleviate the necessity for as many calls. I definitely wouldn’t want to go anywhere else.”
Tina Phillips said: “Stoke Gifford and Conygre Road GPs are good. It’s just trying to get through on phone is a nightmare.”
Michèle Powell said: “Amazing Doctors, fantastic care and very helpful admin staff.”
Sarah Stacey said: “I’m getting increasingly frustrated with their appointment system. They tell you to pre-book for anything non-urgent but there are rarely any suitable pre-bookables available (at Conygre), they always seem to want you to go to Stoke Gifford.”
If you would like to comment on the service that you are receiving at Stoke Gifford and Conygre Medical Centre, contact Debbie Grant at Patientservices@gp-l81118.nhs.uk.