Find out where GP surgeries in St Albans rank for making appointments and opening hours
PUBLISHED: 19:00 16 August 2018
Find out which St Albans surgery is best for overall experience, making an appointment and opening hours.
Patients in St Albans and surrounding districts are finding it harder to book a doctor’s appointment now than five years ago.
A survey of 7,175 patients in the area covered by Herts Valleys Clinical Commissioning Group (HVCCG) showed just 73 per cent found it easy to contact their GP’s surgery on the phone, whereas five years ago it was 80 per cent.
Only 46 per cent knew they could book GP appointments online and just 15 per cent had done so.
Chair of St Albans Patient Group John Wigley said: “Surgeries are adopting a method where you phone in and explain the symptoms and they get back to you and offer a quick or slow appointment, depending on the assessment.
“So it could be people are a bit dissatisfied with that triage service.”
On the lack of people booking online, he said: “I am not surprised about that as I think it would depend on the demographic of people answering the survey.
“The single largest group of people who go to surgeries are elderly people and they are not very au fait with online bookings systems.”
87 per cent of Herts Valley patients rated their overall experience of their practice as either ‘very good’ or ‘fairly good’; down from 89 per cent in 2013, but higher than the national average of 84 per cent.
A HVCCG spokesperson said: “It is encouraging to see Herts Valley GP practices scored higher than the national average for patients’ overall experience and getting through to their practice on the phone.
“We were also really pleased the Care Quality Commission rated our surgeries highly – the vast majority scored either ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ in their assessments last year.
“There is always more work to be done to improve patients’ experience of their GP practice. Over the last few months, local GP practices in St Albans and across west Hertfordshire have been working together to offer patients GP appointments during evenings, weekends and bank holidays. We know this will make a real difference to patients.
“To find out about booking an appointment, speak to your practice receptionist or a member of the practice team.”
The figures come from the 2018 GP Patient Survey conducted in England between January and March this year for NHS England.