Here are the results of a Survey carried out with the support of Practice Index, www.practiceindex.co.uk.
The pretext of the Survey was to assess whether GP Practices were ‘open all hours’ and to what degree. The outcome of the Survey suggests that the vast majority of Practices provide an excellent level of service between 8.00am and 6.30pm each week day. Practices clearly use many different ways of providing services, including appointments reminders, access to prescriptions, appointments and records online, and extended hours either at their own surgery
With the support of Practice Index, www.practiceindex.co.uk, Robert Campbell out a Survey of over 330 GP Practices to assess to what extent GP Practices in the UK were ‘Open All Hours’.
ANALYSIS OF RESPONDENTS
This Section shows the breakdown of Participants in the Survey.
Respondents by Regional Location
Note – 2 respondents did not declare their location.
Respondents by Country
Respondents by Type of Geographical Location
|Note – 3 Practices indicated they were University practices|
Respondents by English County
|English County||Number||English County||Number|
|Essex||10||Tyne and Wear||9|
|Greater London||27||West Midlands||13|
|Greater Manchester||8||West Sussex||7|
|Isle of Wight||1|
This Section deals with the Results of the Survey and starts by looking at Lunchtime Closures
|Open All ‘Core’ Hours||269||80.8|
|Closed All Lunchtimes||42||12.6|
|Closed One Lunchtime||17||5.1|
This response on Lunchtimes suggested that almost 81% of GP Practices are ‘Open All Hours’.
HALF DAY CLOSING
The next Section looks at the incidence of half day closing, whether it is every weekday, once a week or once a month for training purposes.
|Half Day Closing||Number||%|
|Open All ‘Core’ hours||244||73.3|
|Closed Once a Week||47||14.1|
|Closed Once a Month||37||11.1|
This Section on Half Day Closing suggests that around 73% of GP Practices are ‘Open All hours’.
USE OF ‘111’ TELEPHONE SERVICE
This Section looks at the number of Practices using ‘111’ as a contact point for patient’s when the surgery is closed.
|Use of ‘111’ for Out of Hours Services||Number||%|
|Practices using ‘111’||280||84|
|Practices not using ‘111’||53||16|
It should also be noted that 231 Practices (69%) still make reference to NHS Direct on their web sites or in practice leaflets. There are, however, different arrangements in Scotland and Wales.
The next Section looks at the use of Online Services for Patients
|Use of Online Services||Numbers||%||Type of Online Services||Numbers||%|
|Online Services Used||319||96||Prescriptions||317||99|
|Online Services not Used||14||4||Appointments||309||97|
The Section indicates that only 4% of GP Practices do not use online services for patients to order repeat prescriptions, book appointments online and view their medical records online.
EMAIL AVAILABILTY AND APPOINTMENT TEXT REMINDERS
This next section looks at the prevalence of the use of publicly known Practice or Practice Managers email addresses and the use of text reminders to patients for appointments.
|Use of Practice Email Address||Numbers||%||Use of Text Reminders||Numbers||%|
|Practice with email address||226||68||Text Reminders||281||84|
|No email address||107||32||No Text Reminders||52||16|
Whilst GP Practices now provide Practice Web Site, still 32% do not offer an email address as a contact point for patients. However, an extensive 84% of Practices used text reminders to mobile phones for appointments.
The next Section looks at the compliance with ‘Core Hours’, although there is no legal requirement for surgery premises to be physically open during the ‘core hours’, evidence suggests that some surgery premises are not open until 8.30am and close their doors at 6.00pm. There is no suggestion that these Practices are not available by telephone or via ‘111’.
Responses were only requested in relation to the period 6.00pm until 6.30pm.
|Surgeries Open Until 6.30pm||Total||Open||%||Not Open||%|
The response to the Question about remaining physically open until 6.30pm suggests that almost three quarters of the Practices that responded to the survey can stake a claim to being ‘Open All Hours’
EXTENDED HOURS AT OWN SURGERY
This Section looks at the prevalence of the use of Extended Hours, which might be provided either before 8.00am and after 6.30pm on weekdays and during the weekend at the Practices own surgery.
Analysis of Extended Hours Provision
|Main Surgery||All||England||N Ireland||Wales||Scotland||Totals|
|No Extended Hours||106||88||5||7||4||104|
|No Extended Hours||31.83||29.53||71.43||100.00||21.05||31.42|
Almost 70% of GP Practices on average provide Extended Hours Services which on the face of it is ‘beyond the call of duty’ and confirms that a large majority of Practices are ‘Open All Hours’
Services Provided at Another Surgery
The Analysis below shows the extent to which Practices offer extended hours services at a surgery operated by another practice.
In Summary, the extent to which main surgery premises are OPEN ALL HOURS is shown below:
- Lunchtimes – 81%
- Half Day Closing – 74%
- Use of ‘111’ – 84%
- Online Access – 96%
- Email Address – 68%
- Text Reminders – 84%
- Core Hours – 74%
- Extended Hours – 68%
Robert Campbell – June 2017