You are here: Dispensing Doctor Data » Rural patients more satisfied than most
Patients living in PCTs with rural areas show higher than average confidence and trust in their GP, a national patient survey has found. These patients also report higher than national average involvement in decisions about their care.
The annual Department of Health survey of more than 530,000 patients in England asked general questions about patients' use of GP practice services (GP and nurse), practice waiting times and overall satisfaction rates (with opening hours and the overall experience). Results are listed by PCT and individual practices.
The survey finds that nationally 88% of patients are very or fairly satisfied with their overall practice experience. PCTs considered to have a rural component dominate the top 30 in this measure. The most satisfied patients (reporting a 93% satisfaction score) are found in: Devon, Dorset, Wirral, Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, Isle of Wight and Bath and North East Somerset PCTs.
As for patients' involvement in decisions about their care, PCTs with rural areas also dominate the top 30. Top satisfaction scores (81%, compared to 76% national average) were reported by patients in the following PCTs:
Confidence and trust in the GP in PCTs with rural areas was also above the national average of 93%.
The findings correspond to a 2008 DDA survey of 6250 patients (24% non dispensing), which asked about patients' use of GP practices and desire to be involved in care decisions. This survey found that 86% of patients had been registered with their practice for at least 10 years and that 88% of patients wanted to be able to choose where they had their prescriptions dispensed.
Interpreting the surveys' findings, DDA chief executive Dr David Baker said: "In recent years, patients have become far more involved in their care, with the result that GPs no longer take decisions for patients but with patients. Patient choice is rightly at the centre of today's NHS and modern medical practice, and modern patients seeking medical or pharmaceutical services are not afraid to vote with their feet. Our own survey shows that patients do not want to have their choices ‘directed', which is why we will question Pharmacy Voice's allegations that GPs are directing prescriptions. In our view it is a foolish and shortsighted GP, pharmacist or politician who attempts to get in the way of patient autonomy."