Consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic: Survey Results

We ran a survey for patients regarding how we are consulting during the pandemic and getting patient views on their experiences  

In November and December 2020 the practice sent emails to patients who had requested an appointment.  The number of surveys sent out was 1308 and the number of responses was 278 (21% of the total).  The practice offered many more appointments during the period but some patients do not have email addresses recorded on their medical record and we did not send multiple surveys to the same email address.

The age range of respondents is reflective of the age distribution of the practice in general.

64% of people wanted to speak to someone on the phone while 36% hoped to be seen in person. Once contacted, 42% of the issues were dealt with in the first call and 45% were asked to come into the surgery.  6% were referred elsewhere and 13% needed to have some tests done before they could be treated.

90% of respondents are satisfied by their treatment which is very pleasing during the current circumstances.  2.5% were neutral.  We have analysed the 7.5% (19 patients) who were dissatisfied and found that over 50% were from patients who did not get their problem resolved at the first consultation.




We asked for suggestions for improvement.  Thanks for the many messages of support for the way we are working.  

Here are a few comments regarding suggestions made:

  • Some patients want to keep telephone consultation before any face-to-face appointment is given once the pandemic is over.  We will be reviewing this.  Telephone triage does allow clinicians to deal with many issues over the phone without the need for the patient to come in at all.
  • The phone lines are busy and we are sorry.  This has been partially caused by having to suspend the facility for on-line booking as advised by NHS England.  We are having to deal with many more calls with a fixed number of staff and some pretty large space restrictions.  Many lines are taken up by clinicians calling out.  We appreciate your patience and as soon as we are allowed, we will restore more on-line booking but for now this is a safety measure to ensure anyone with COVID doesn’t come into the health centre.
  • Some people object to wearing a mask.  We respect that there may be reasons why you can’t and don’t, but we also have a duty of care to our staff and other patients in the building so if you aren’t wearing a mask and need to be seen, you will be asked to wait outside until the clinician can see you.
  • If you miss a call from a clinician, they do try to ring back (our policy is to try again).  Unless there is a personalised message on your phone giving your name, we can’t leave a message as we can’t be sure of your identity.  Your confidentiality is very important to us.
  • “I don’t want to tell the receptionist what my call is for”.  All our staff have signed confidentiality agreements re medical records and these are binding.  The clinicians need to understand what the call is about in advance to prioritise calls and make estimates of how long a call might take (GP’s are making hundreds of calls every day and getting it right quickly is their aim).  It is not the receptionist who wants the information, it is the clinician.

Published: Feb 17, 2021