Survey Results

Patient Survey Results April 2018

In April 2018 the practice undertook a survey to obtain patients views on the services provided. The survey was carried out over a three week period and 200 responses were received.


97.5% of respondents rated our reception staff as good to excellent. This is a slight improvement on last year’s survey and we are very proud of this result. Our reception staff attend regular training updates and customer service issues and patient feedback (good and bad) are a regular discussion point at our monthly staff meetings.

97% of respondents said our reception staff handled their queries efficiently.

This is an improvement on our last patient survey results. Over the last year we have recruited two new members of staff to the reception team to continue to provide patients with an efficient and caring service.

When telephoning the surgery 81% of respondents rated the response times as good to excellent. We have three incoming lines to allow us to answer your calls as quickly as possible and aim to answer all calls within 5 rings.

Mornings tend to be busier than afternoons and Mondays are our busiest day so it may be easier to get through on the phones if you can avoid these times.

We don’t close at lunchtime to allow patients to call us on their lunch break but it may take slightly longer to answer your call – we will endeavour to do so as quickly as possible. It also helps us if non urgent queries can be called in after 2pm.

It is possible to book, cancel and rearrange GP appointments and order your medication via our website and this may reduce the need to telephone the surgery.

Some patients have told us they are frustrated at receiving an engaged tone when ringing in for same day appointments and have suggested that we look at a call queuing system. This is something we will be looking at in the coming months.

Access to a Doctor or Nurse

  • 75% of respondents rated ease of booking routine appointments as good to excellent. This is a 5% improvement on our previous survey. Our routine appointments are pre bookable up to two weeks in advance. They cover a range of times both morning and afternoon starting from 8.30am. You can book appointments by contacting the surgery or via our online booking system. All or our GP appointments are bookable on line although the computer system can only show a selection at a time. Some patients have suggested that we should book further ahead than two weeks. Past experience has shown us that patients are more likely to fail to attend when booking further in advance and results in longer waits for patients as the system simply gets booked up further in advance.
  • 60.5% of respondents rated ease of booking same day appointments as good to excellent. This is slightly lower than our previous survey. 21.5% rated the process as fair. Some patients expressed concern that the telephone lines were busy first thing on a morning due to patients calling in for same day appointments. We ensure that all of our phone lines are manned from 8.30am and as previously noted we will be looking into a call queuing system.
  • 81.5% of respondents rated our urgent system as good to excellent. Patient satisfaction in this area has improved by 4.5%. We will always offer an urgent appointment if you feel you cannot wait until the next routine appointment although it may not always be with the doctor of your choice depending on which doctor is on call. Under 5s will always be seen the same day where required. At times, depending on the demand for extra appointments there may be a wait at the surgery but we will endeavour to inform you of any delays.
  • 65% of respondents rated the time they waited for an appointment as good to excellent. 21% rated the waiting time as fair. We continually monitor our appointment availability and will always deal with urgent requests the same day where required. Please let us know if you are unable to attend your appointment well in advance as this allows us to offer it to someone else.

Some patients expressed concern over the length of time taken to get a routine appointment and were not happy at being advised of the services provided by Houghton Minor Illness and Injury Unit. Across the country GP surgeries are experiencing increasing demand which is putting pressure on the system and making it difficult for patients to book appointments. We understand the frustration this causes and are constantly looking at ways to tackle this problem. Additional resources have been put into services such as the Minor Illness Unit and the Extended Access Service (GP appointments 6-8.30pm and weekends) and we would encourage patients to use these services where appropriate. We all need to use our NHS resources wisely.

  • 86% of patients were very happy with the date and time of their appointment. We offer a range of morning and afternoon appointments for GPs and nurses. We have recently introduced pre-booked telephone consultation slots for all GPs in response to patients who work and find it difficult to attend surgery. Remember the pre-bookable extended access slots are available if you require an evening or weekend appointment.
  • 96% of respondents rated their last consultation with a GP or nurse as good to excellent. We think this is an excellent achievement. Furthermore, 90% of respondents rated the ability to speak to a doctor or nurse on the telephone as good to excellent – this is an 8% improvement on the previous survey and may be a result of introducing the telephone consultations.
  • 83.5% of patients rated the Out of Hours Service as good to excellent. Although this service is not directly provided by the practice it is reassuring to know that our patients feel they are receiving a good level of care. The out of hours service can be contacted when the surgery is closed by dialling 111. 111 can book appointments into Houghton Minor Illness Unit and the GP Extended Access appointments.

Obtaining A Repeat Prescription

94.5% of respondents rated our prescription ordering service as good to excellent and handling prescription queries at 95%.

Online ordering of prescriptions is working very well now and patients seem to like this service – we would encourage patients to sign up for this. We offer various ways to order your prescription including e-mail, fax, post and calling into the surgery.

We will always have your prescription ready to collect within 2 working days and can post it back to you if you supply stamped addressed envelopes.

We can also arrange collection by one of the local pharmacies. Please help us by only ordering the items you require.

Obtaining Test Results

When obtaining test results 94% of respondents rated the process as good to excellent and 91% were happy with the information provided. Please contact the surgery 3-5 days after your test for the results – we do not routinely contact patients with results.

More and more patients are now signing up to access their own test results online – please ask at reception to sign up for this service.


99.5% of respondents rated the cleanliness of our surgery as good to excellent and no concerns were reported.

87% of respondents felt they could easily speak to a receptionist in private if required. We are aware that the waiting room and reception area can be a busy place. If you wish to discuss an issue away from the reception desk please ask and this can be easily arranged.

We also have a separate waiting area for patients who may be distressed waiting in the main waiting area – just ask.

And Finally:

96% of patients rated their overall satisfaction with the practice as good to excellent.

In light of the current climate within the NHS and the pressure on resources we are proud of this result and continually strive to provide the best service possible to our patients.

Comments from this survey included:

  • Average time of 2 weeks for a routine appointment is poor. Having to phone around 8.30 for appointment for same day is difficult for those who work.
  • I have online access to make appointments for myself and child; this service is excellent. I can also order repeat prescriptions by this service.
  • Reception staff are always very helpful and friendly.
  • Best local practice by miles!
  • Super practice – puts other local practices to shame.
  • Excellent surgery.
  • Making appointments is difficult, even when you ring first thing. By the time you get through all appointments have gone or you have to wait 2 weeks.

  • All staff, from receptionists to doctors, really friendly and helpful.
  • Often struggle to get through on phone (engaged a lot!)
  • This medical centre came highly recommended by colleagues which is why I moved to this Practice.
    I have always been very happy with this Practice and the efficiency of being able to get an appointment quickly for urgent things.
  • Best medical group in the UK.
  • Since 1976 I have always been extremely satisfied. The receptionists have always been caring and helpful (even when busy they always acknowledge your presence).
  • It would be good to have same day appointments in the afternoon surgery.
  • The doctor I have seen and the staff give an excellent service; very polite and the doctors are all very caring.
  • Staff are always very understanding and helpful. Excellent staff at all levels.
  • The staff and doctors are the most patient and sympathetic I have ever met. The attention to details no matter how small is to be commended. Thank you all.

  • Been a patient for over 30 years; no complaints.
  • Not enough people answering calls. Not enough options for appointments – 2 weeks is too far away.
  • I find it very hard to get through to make an appointment before 9.00am. Otherwise, I cannot fault anything else.
  • Lovely, friendly staff, always happy and helpful.
  • Extremely happy at this Practice. I feel very secure with all dealings I have here. Every person is extremely pleasant and helpful.
  • Can’t ask for a better surgery and staff.
  • This surgery provides an excellent service compared with others attended by family and friends.
  • Not enough appointments online.