My practice received the results of the nation patient survey today. As most practices are probably aware these relate to last year, 2008/9, and apply to two new indicators in the Patient Experience domain. Just as a reminder -
PE7 Patient experience of access (1)
The percentage of patients who, in the appropriate national survey, indicate they were able to obtain a consultation with a GP (in England) or appropriate health professional (in Scotland, Wales and NI) within 2 working days (in Wales this will be 24 hours).
Range 70-90% 23.5 points
PE8 Patient experience of access (2)
The percentage of patients who, in the appropriate national survey, indicate they were able to book an appointment with a GP more than 2 days ahead.
Range 60-90% 35 points
As you can see these command quite a lot of points, more than Stoke, Heart Failure, Cancer and Palliative Care combined.
Now that we have seen our results we are absolutely ... Ah, can't actually tell you how we feel about them. I can tell you other people aren't happy and are questioning the statistical validity due to very small sample sizes, but not if I feel the same. You see it is a secret. It is not, I hasten to ask our secret but instead it is the government's secret - at least until a time of their choosing. The statistics came with this warning:
The data is restricted until full national publication of all survey results by the Department of Health. The data must not be shared with any third parties except where expressly permitted by the Department of Health. This includes giving any indication over the content such as "favourable" or "unfavourable" comparisons of data.
Sharing of individual results with GP practices is permitted. Any communications with GP practices over their individual results should also enforce the confidentiality of the data and the duty not to share the data with any other third party ahead of official publication. A template letter will be available from the Department of Health to help in this regard.
PCTs should also refuse any Freedom of Information requests for this information, given national plans to publish the GP patient survey data. Any wrongful release of data to any other third party should be reported immediately to the Department of Health and may lead to an inquiry.
Now, I would hate to spoil a good press conference (30th June apparently) but we are now in the bizarre situation situation of GPs trying to get a handle on whether there is a systemic problem here without proper information. I personally receive three copies of the survey, all with different ID numbers and returned them all!. It is impossible to see if there is a problem or not without the data. Emails going around are a little cryptic as they can't disclose the data. All in the name of a stage managed press release. Expect to see a lot of argument about this over the next couple of weeks.