Top of the docs: Welwyn Hatfield patients rate their GP surgeries

PUBLISHED: 18:45 05 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:58 06 September 2018

Bridge Cottage Surgery. Picture: DANNY LOO

Bridge Cottage Surgery. Picture: DANNY LOO

©2018 Danny Loo Photography - all rights reserved

How has your GP surgery fared in the latest patients’ survey in Welwyn Hatfield?

Patients wait less than average time to be seen at Cuffley Village Surgery.Patients wait less than average time to be seen at Cuffley Village Surgery.

There have been major improvements but also some drops in standards, according to patients who responded to the 2018 GP Patient Survey.

Comprising over 50 questions, the annual survey conducted by Ipsos MORI, asks patients to rate their experience of their surgeries on a wide range of issues.

The WHT looked at six of these measures for Welwyn Hatfield surgeries.

See our infographic for all these results in detail.

Potterells Medical Centre was highest on the list for an overall experience.Potterells Medical Centre was highest on the list for an overall experience.

• Getting through on the phone

Top of the call handling surgeries were Potterells Medical Centre in North Mymms, where 87 per cent of people found it easy to get through; and Cuffley and Goffs Oak Medical Practice on 83 per cent.

But Peartree Group Practice, which comprises surgeries at Moors Walk, Peartree Lane and Hollybush Lane in WGC, offered only 38 per cent of patients an easy time on the phone system.

This has improved from last year, when the figure was 29 per cent.

Knightsfield Surgery, where very few patients reported a long wait after their appointment time.Knightsfield Surgery, where very few patients reported a long wait after their appointment time.

Practice manager James Brookman puts the improvement down to their new telephone triage system, which he said patients will need time to adjust to.

He added that polling from their independent patient group, which had more than twice as many responses as the GP Patient Survey, recorded 63 per cent satisfaction with the phone lines.

Lister House in Hatfield saw a drop since last year, with just 48 per cent of patients finding it easy to get through.

• How soon is an appointment available?

Moors Walk Surgery, part of Peartree Group.Moors Walk Surgery, part of Peartree Group.

For this, we looked at how many patients waited more than a week for an appointment after trying to book.

Currently, an average of 27 per cent of respondents across the borough waited this long, a figure that Peartree Group, Cuffley and Goffs Oak Medical Centre, and Spring House in WGC, all managed to bring down to 21 per cent.

But that figure was as high as 38 per cent for Hall Grove Group, which includes Parkway and Hall Grove surgeries in WGC, and 39 per cent at Lister House.

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

Patients reported long waiting times on the phone and in the waiting room at Lister House SurgeryPatients reported long waiting times on the phone and in the waiting room at Lister House Surgery

It’s not uncommon to have a short wait after your official appointment time, but two surgeries managed to keep waiting to a minimum.

Just four per cent at Spring House in WGC are left sitting in the waiting room longer than 30 minutes after their appointment times.

At Garden City practice, including Knightsfield and Haldens practices in WGC, that’s just three per cent.

Twenty per cent of respondents at Peartree Group and at Burvill House in Hatfield waited over 30 minutes.

Burvill House Doctors Surgery: one in five respondents said they waited over 30 minutes to be seen.Burvill House Doctors Surgery: one in five respondents said they waited over 30 minutes to be seen.

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

No surgery dropped below 90 per cent here, with the most trusted healthcare professionals being found at Bridge Cottage, which covers Kimpton and Welwyn, and Potterells, each on 99 per cent.

• Were your needs met?

The only surgery to get a response below 90 per cent was Peartree Group, where 15 per cent of patients said that their needs had been not met at their last appointment.

Mr Brookman pointed out the small sample size of the survey, noting that this figure amounts to 17 people, and said: “Alongside our proactive patient participation group we are conducting more detailed analysis of patient satisfaction so that we can ascertain any gaps in meeting the needs of our circa 21,000 patients.”

• Your overall experience

Patients visiting the Peartree practices were even less pleased than 2017, when 67 per cent of people said their experience was good or very good. This year, that figure is 60 per cent.

Mr Brookman said: “The results of our larger and more recent in-house survey – conducted by our PRG and randomised to evaluate a far broader response - showed significantly higher patient experience scores.”

Scoring highest was Potterells, on 95 per cent, improving on last year’s 86 per cent.

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 for comment.

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