GP practices are set for greater scrutiny of their opening hours after NHS managers announced a new incentives scheme that will reward CCGs with funding worth £1 per patient to increase patient satisfaction with GP access.
Under the Quality Premium scheme, CCGs will earn £1 per patient if at least 85% of patients reporting that they had a ‘good’ experience of making a GP appointment in the July 2017 GP Patient Survey.
It comes as patient satisfaction with GP access has been dropping, to 73% in January.
For those regions well below the 85% satisfaction, the £1 per patient can be earned by showing a 3% improvement from the score they achieved in July 2016.
General practice consistently scores among the highest overall satisfaction rates of any part of the NHS, but satisfaction with opening times and appointments has dropped - despite more than 90% of patients saying they get appointments at times convenient to them. .
The Department of Health has recognised the drop in overall patient satisfaction is a consequence of the ‘pressures that GPs are under’.
But NHS England has said that the new incentives will ensure the ‘importance’ of patient satisfaction is underlined.
The CCG Quality Premium guidance states: ‘Access to GP services, and, in particular, the ease of making an appointment is a key measure of patient experience, and affects the wider healthcare system as patients who find it difficult to access GP services may seek care through emergency services inappropriately.
’Attaching a quality premium payment will also ensure that the profile and importance of insight about patient experience is underlined, and it will incentivise the wider system to review and learn from the findings of the GPPS.’
But GPC deputy chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse: ‘The workload pressures in general practice are rapidly increasing and practices are struggling to meet those demands. the way to achieve greatest satisfaction is to invest more, and there’s a direct link between the investment in practices and the satisfaction patients have in that practice.’
Read the full article on Pulse Today.