National patient survey results and action plan

Spring House Medical Centre


The GP National patient survey is an independent survey run by Ipsos MORI on behalf of NHS England.  It gives patients the opportunity to feed back their experience.  The survey for 2022 was carried out from 10th January to 11th April 2022 and the results were published in July 2022.

Patients can view the results online at however, please note that we are listed as Spring House Health – AL7.

We analyse all the results for our surgery, compare them to previous years and produce an action plan to address any areas that need improvement.  In addition to this national survey, we do also carry out smaller, local surveys each year and the results are then posted on our website.

We are grateful to all our patients who contributed to this year’s survey with at the practice or via the website.  The results are very useful to identify areas that might need improvement.


A summary of the results from the national survey are attached.

We scored higher than average in every category compared to other members of our integrated care board which is very good news.

Areas where the practice does particularly well

  • Patients who say the healthcare professional they saw or spoke to was good at giving them enough time during their last general practice appointment – 87%
  • Patients who say the healthcare professional they saw or spoke to was good at treating them with care and concern during their last general practice appointment – 90%
  • Patients who had confidence and trust in the healthcare professional they saw or spoke to during their last general practice appointment – 96%
  • Patients who felt their needs were met during their last general practice appointment – 93%

Our GP services

  • Patients who find it easy to get through to this GP practice by phone – 70%
  • Patients found the receptionist at this GP practice to be helpful – 84%
  • Patients who describe their overall experience of this GP practice as good 72%

Making an appointment

  • Patients who find it easy to get through to the GP practice by phone – 70%
  • Patients who were satisfied with the appointment they were offered – 70%
  • Patients who took the appointment they were offered – 99%
  • Percentage of patient who describe their experience of making an appointment as good = 64%

Patients health

  • Patients who say the healthcare professional they saw or spoke to was good at treating them with care and concern during their last general practice appointment – 90%
  • Percentage of patients who felt the healthcare professional recognised or understood any mental health needs during their last general practice appointment – 86%
  • Percentage of patients who were involved as much as they wanted to be in decisions about their care and treatment during their last general practice appointment – 93%
  • Percentage of patients who say they have had enough support from local services or organsiations in the last 12 months to help manage their long-term condition(s) – 75%

Where we did not do as well, and why

  • Only 46% of patients said they usually get to see or speak to their preferred GP when they would like to

This result is still higher than the national average of 35% but it still meant that 54% of our patients are not getting to speak to their preferred GP.

The past year throughout the pandemic has been a very difficult time for everyone with many changes being brought into general practice to allow us to continue to provide and maintain services for patients who have existing health conditions as well as those relating to Covid – 19. Many patients as well as staff have had to shield or isolate. 

Due to very tight infection control protocols at the surgery, we thankfully did not have many clinicians or staff down with Covid at any one time and we did not have to shut our doors but obviously, it was more challenging to have the preferred GP’s always available at the chosen times of the patients.  We also employ all salaried GP’s with some of them only working part-time. 

  • The percentage of patients who are satisfied with the general practice appointment times available – 56%

Again, this was still slightly above the national average of 55% but lower for Spring House compared to our other categories.

It is an interesting result as Spring House is open for longer hours than most surgeries in the area for several reasons.  We host the Extended Access Service for our Locality (Welwyn and Hatfield) so we have appointments from 6.30-8pm Mondays to Fridays and 1-4pm Saturdays and 1-2 Sundays.  This service includes allocated appointments for our own Spring House patients but it also means that the phone lines are open and available for all our patients 7 days a week within the specified times.  The surgery is also open during these times for our patients to collect letters, drop off samples and speak to our team of receptionists who all cover the shifts in Extended Access.

We are also open from 8am to 6.30pm as a normal surgery and we do not have breaks for lunch.  The lower percentage of satisfied patients could have been affected by the restrictions due to Covid and lockdowns etc although we have tried to be as accommodating as possible.

We have introduced remote consultations, via telephone and video and more support has been sent out digitally. 

Action Plan

We continue to recruit additional roles within the surgery and we have several new roles already in the surgery including clinical pharmacists, physiotherapists, mental health nurses, a care coordinator, and social prescribers.  These all help to increase our range of expertise within the practice but also increase the number of appointments offered.

We have now authorised the on-line booking of appointments again as this had to be withdrawn throughout the earlier phases of the pandemic as it does not allow for triage of symptoms by the practice staff.  This has all now been more relaxed so hopefully this will help make the booking of appointments more available.

We are currently working on a new website as we recognise that the current site is dated and clunky.  We should have the new one available for all our patients by the end of August. This includes E-Consult so that you can share your symptoms and have a clinician respond to your concerns and questions, without the need for an appointment.

We are going to continue to provide training for all staff including our receptionists so they can continue to provide a 1st class service to all our patients.  There is now significantly more training and information available for staff to understand and recognise signs of mental well-being, domestic abuse, and safeguarding issues.

We plan to respond to all feedback we are given from patients including complaints, surveys, emails, and questionnaires.

We constantly review the types of appointments offered and the waiting time for patients to book a routine appointment. We are now meeting local targets to ensure all patients can book an appointment within a maximum of 2 weeks.  We are also ensuring that we are offering more on-the-day appointments so that patients can phone at 8am and 1pm to be seen on the same day, if they have acute problems

All feedback from the national survey has already been shared with all our clinicians so that they are aware of the patient feedback.  The results will also be shared with other staff. This is to ensure everyone is aware of the slightly weaker areas so they can all contribute to an improvement

Our reception team are all trained navigators and will be able to signpost all our patients to the correct clinician as we now have far more options within our surgery.

We are going to ensure that we allocate more staff to be answering calls at the pinch times, to hopefully prevent patients having to wait to speak to us

We are now utilising our new extension and additional four consulting rooms fully.  These were opened in August 2021 and mean that we can offer far more appointments than previously and house the new additional roles within the surgery to make it more of a one-stop shop for all our patients.

At the time of the new extension, we were able to offer far more lines into and out of the surgery which has improved patient access into the surgery, particularly at our busier times of 8am and 1pm.

Delegated responsibility for overseeing all these improvements will fall to the Practice Manager but there will be follow up questionnaires sent out to our patients prior to the end of the year so that we can measure our success.

We plan to have a board added to the outside entrance that clearly displays our opening times for the surgery and Extended Access services

Patients experiencing inequalities in their experience to general practice

We have several patient cohorts that may have more difficulty in accessing our practice.  We plan to work hard to improve their experience with the following planned actions;

The premises have been improved recently, with handrails in our clinical corridor to assist  those who are less able.  We also have new, electronic doors for ease of access for anybody in a wheelchair or needing extra assistance in accessing the waiting room. 

We will soon have the main ramps repaired as the slats are beginning to shift and could be a trip hazard

We are going to improve the number of visual aids available in our surgery for our patients with Learning Disabilities and these will now include cancer screening.  We are an accredited Purple Star surgery and wish to maintain this by offering a supportive and very caring service to all our patients with a Learning disability

We have a bypass number currently for all our palliative care patients and learning disabilities but we now plan to extend this to other patients assessed as needing quick access to a receptionist or additional help.  These patients are then provided with a credit card with the bypass number on so they can keep this somewhere safe.  This register is continually reviewed and updated.

We have recently become an accredited veteran-friendly practice and plan to increase our register prevalence so that we are fully inclusive of all our veterans.  We have appointed a clinical lead for this area who has now completed all the relevant training as well as several members of the admin team.  Veterans often need additional and urgent support and they will also be assessed for the bypass number

We are a practice that welcomes all patients whatever their nationality and we ensure that we have information printed in several languages and posters on display to assist these.  We also have all clinicians familiar with the newer language line and translating package so that non-English speaking patients receive the same standard of care.

We plan to continue to support our patients with dementia and we now have a qualified dementia champion who as such, is an approved trainer so all admin staff have received the appropriate training so that we are all aware of the additional support we can offer these patients.