Patients ‘confident’ in practice nurses despite increasing pressures

CREDIT: This story was first seen in Nursing in Practice

Nearly 85% of primary care patients have said they have ‘trust’ and ‘confidence’ in the last practice nurse they were seen by, according to new national data, Nursing in Practice reports.

However, the figure (84.5%) revealed in NHS England’s 2017 GP Patient Survey, is a decrease of 0.1 percentage points from 84.6% in 2016.

Other questions regarding the patients’ overall access to primary care show a decline in accessibility since 2016.

The results are based on surveys of 2.15 million patients taken between January and March 2017.

Over 808,000 patients completed and returned the questionnaires, which the results are based on.

The survey asked patients about the last time they saw or spoke to a nurse from their GP surgery, with the following results on how good that nurse was at each of the following:

  • Giving you enough time – 79.5% good and 1.5% bad
  • Listening to you – 78.6% good and 1.7% bad
  • Explaining tests and treatments – 76.1% good and 1.5% bad
  • Involving you in decisions about your care – 65.9% good and 1.9% bad
  • Treating you with care and concern – 77.5% good and 1.9% bad

The survey report noted that the proportion of patients saying their nurse was good at involving them in decisions about their care has dropped since 2012 – from 68.2% to 65.9% – but remained stable since 2016 when it was 65.8%.

The survey also indicated a decline in overall access to primary care services as well as longer waits to see or speak with a clinician.

84.3% of patients said they were able to get an appointment to see or speak to someone the last time they tried, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from 84.9% since 2016.

Of patients who were able to get an appointment, 92.1% said their appointment was convenient, a decrease of 0.3 percentage points from 92.5% since 2016.

In addition, 64.2% said they normally wait 15 minutes or less after their appointment time to be seen, a decrease of 0.7 percentage points from 64.9% since 2016.

57.7% of patients said “they don’t normally have to wait too long” to be seen, a decrease of 0.6 percentage points since 2016.

Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: ‘It’s very concerning that more people are having to wait for longer to get appointments with their practice nurse.

‘It is particularly worrying that some patients are deciding not to seek medical advice at all if they are not able to get an appointment initially.

‘We need the pledges in NHS England’s GP Forward View – which includes an extra £2.4bn a year for general practice and 5,000 additional GPs – to be delivered as a matter of urgency so that our patients can see a GP when they need to and receive the quality care they deserve.’

Dr Richard Vautrey, acting chair of the British Medical Association’s GP committee, said: ‘Despite GPs and their practice teams working flat out to provide as good a service as they can and see as many patients as promptly as possible, these figures reflect the growing impact from the unsustainable pressures facing general practice.

‘It is unfair on patients across the country that their increasing needs are not being recognised by the government, which is failing to address increasing staff shortages and is providing insufficient funding, leaving too many patients waiting longer for the care they need,’ he added.

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