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Have you taken the GP survey

​​Dr John Whitehead, clinical lead for primary care
Time is running out for people to take part in the biggest local NHS survey of its kind, looking at the wide range of services at GP practices.

The survey is asking a variety of questions about how easy it is to see a GP, how many days a week a practice should be open, how medicines wastage can be avoided, and who should have access to a patient’s medical record.

It opened on 5 February, and so far more than 800 people have responded. Of those, 82 percent want to be able to book appointments and tests, as well as receiving results online, rather than wait on the phone or have to visit the practice. 

Only 55 percent believe the systems that process prescriptions, tests and results are efficient, prompt and accurate. And 73 percent of people want to directly access their own health record and share it with anyone they think relevant, such as their carer or family member.

The survey is being run by South Devon and Torbay Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for the majority of healthcare in the area.

Dr John Whitehead, CCG clinical lead for primary care, said: “We’re really pleased that so many people have taken the time to complete this important survey.

“It asks what people think of the priorities we’ve set out in the Strategy for General Practice, which aims to ensure that for the next four years practices are as effective as possible.

“The more responses we receive, the better for everyone who uses a local GP practice, because those responses will help us understand whether the strategy’s proposals are realistic.”

South Devon and Torbay GP practices see about 1.7million local patients each year, but increasing demands are putting the system under extreme pressure.

So far, other findings in the survey show that 40 percent agree the NHS should not prescribe low-cost, over-the-counter medicines that are easily available in shops and supermarkets. This includes treatments for coughs and colds, mouth ulcers, and mild acne or eczema.

Also, to address the issue of wasted medicines, 90 percent have agreed that instead of all possible items on a repeat prescription being automatically dispensed every 28 days, patients should be responsible for only ordering what they actually require.

When asked whether it mattered if there are fewer GP practice sites in towns where there is more than one GP practice, 55 percent said it didn’t.

The survey closes on 25 March. It is available here. It should take around 15 minutes to complete. Paper copies of the survey can be requested by emailing jo.curtis@nhs.net or calling 01803 652475.