Access to GP out-of-hours services

Access to GP services is important to patients. Primary care out-of-hours period is normally from 6.30pm to 8.00am on weekdays, all weekend and bank holidays. The GP Patient Survey gives patients the opportunity to comment on their experience of GP services and other local NHS services.

Did patients know how to contact an out-of hours GP service when their surgery is closed?

In 2011/12 58% of patients said that they know how to contact out-of-hours GP services (patients were asked about contacting an out-of hours GP service when your GP surgery their closed and not to include NHS Direct, NHS walk-in centres or A&E). This subsequently declined to around 56% between July 2013 and March 2014, and has remained around this value for the last three surveys. Between July 2014 and March 2015, the latest data point, the value is 56% showing there is still a large proportion of patients who do not know how to contact their out-of-hours GP services.

Source: 
NHS England, GP Patient Survey

How easy was it for patients to contact the out-of-hours GP service by telephone?

Of those who did know how to contact the out-of-hours GP service, 80% in 2011/12 said it was easy to contact it by telephone. For the latest survey, July 2014 to March 2015, the value is 77%.

Source: 
NHS England, GP Patient Survey

How did patients feel about how quickly they received care from out-of-hours GP service?

Overall the majority (greater than 60%) of patients surveyed thought the time it took to receive care from the out-of-hours GP service was about right, however, there has been a slight decrease from 63% in 2011/12 to 61% between July 2014 and March 2015.

Source: 
NHS England, GP Patient Survey
About this data

The percentages are weighted and error bars in the charts presented here represent +/- 95% confidence intervals.

The majority of data points represent the data reported for financial years except for those covering January to September 2013, which represents responses to questionnaires sent in two waves: from January to March and July to September. To reflect that these data points do not cover a full financial year and may have overlaps with the previous financial year, meaning they are not fully comparable to other data points in the series, they are shaded a different colour.

The number of respondents to the GP patient survey has decreased year on year from 2,169,718 patients in 2009/10 to 943,138 for January - September 2013, which relates to participation rates of 39% in 2009/10 and 35% between January and September 2013.

For more information, including technical methodology, please see the GP patient survey website.

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