Rated or slated? This year’s Potters Bar GP patient survey

PUBLISHED: 16:46 13 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:50 13 September 2018

Annandale & Highview Medical Centres

Annandale & Highview Medical Centres

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How did Potters Bar surgeries do in the latest patient survey?

Parkfield Medical CentreParkfield Medical Centre

Every year, patients nationwide are asked to give their views in a survey of over 50 questions.

Conducted by Ipsos MORI, it covers a wide range of issues.

We looked at six of these measures for five surgeries in and around Potters Bar.

• Getting through on the phone

Top of the docs for call handling was Annandale Medical Centre on High Street, where 88 per cent of patients surveyed said it was ‘fairly’ or ‘very’ easy to get through on the phone the last time they tried.

Potterells Medical Centre in North Mymms wasn’t far behind on 87 per cent, but only 60 per cent of patients at Parkfield Medical Centre on The Walk reported as good an experience.

Tracy Miller, who is registered with Parkfield, said: “The wait at Parkfield is unreal [...] you can’t get through for over 20 minutes.

“It’s not their fault, but the system is failing.”

Parkfield practice manager Mimi SalgadoParkfield practice manager Mimi Salgado

Mimi Salgado, practice manager at Parkfield, said that they have put in an improved system with an auto call-back feature.

“We are also actively encouraging patients to take advantage of our online services, including online appointment booking, which reduces demand on our telephone lines.”

She also pointed out that Parkfield has the highest number of older patients living independently.

“This puts a significant amount of additional pressure on our phone lines compared with other practices which have a younger registered population,” she said.

• How soon is an appointment available?

Nearly a quarter of patients at Potterells (24 per cent) reported there not being an appointment available until over a week after the last time they tried to book, while Annandale kept this figure as low as eight per cent.

Cuffley and Goffs Oak Medical Centre, Highview on High Street, and Parkfield all kept this figure in the low twenties.

• How long did you wait to be seen on the day of the appointment?

As busy as our health service is, it’s not uncommon to be seen a shade later than your actual appointment time, but at Highview 13 per cent of respondents said they had been kept waiting more than half an hour later.

Annandale and Potterells were seen as best at sticking to schedule, with under 10 per cent of their patients experiencing that long a wait at their last appointment.

• How much confidence and trust do you have in the doctors and nurses?

The bedside manner is strong with all Potters Bar’s health professionals, and at Potterells the doctors and nurses are 99 per cent trusted.

No surgery went below 90 per cent here, though nine per cent of Parkfield’s respondents answered ‘no, not at all’ to this question.

Practice manager Ms Salgado said this had surprised the team. “The feedback we receive through other channels does not reflect this feeling,” saying that they actively encourage patients to raise issues.

• Were your needs met?

All surgeries scored highly here, with between 92 and 94 per cent of respondents all saying their needs had ‘definitely’ or ‘to some extent’ been met at their last appointment.

• Your overall experience

The best overall experience was reported at Potterells, where 95 per cent of people responding saying that it was either ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’.

Highview scored lowest, with 84 per cent of people giving the same response.

Potters Bar residents commented to the Times that they were impressed by Annandale’s, such as CeCe Claire Armstrong-Brealey who said: “From the receptionists and admin to the doctors, all are wonderful.”

Survey results represent the answers of a relatively small sample of the patients - often just a couple of hundred out of patient groups that can number into the tens of thousands.

The newspaper reached out to every surgery, and has reflected the comments of those which replied.

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