How GP Surgeries Are Rated Across England - Best & Worst rated Press Release

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Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

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Best and Worst Rated GP Surgeries

In July 2023, the results of the official GP Patient Survey 2023 were published by NHS England. The survey assessed the experiences of patients in relation to healthcare services provided by both GP practices, and NHS dental services. The survey covered issues such as accessibility to GP appointments, the quality of care received from healthcare professionals, and their experience of services when a GP practice is closed.

Additionally, the survey captured information about patient health, specifically those suffering with long term conditions, disabilities and illnesses.

Overall, 71.3% of patients reported a good overall experience of their GP practice which is lower than it was in 2022 at 72.4%. Satisfaction with access to primary care generally has declined over the past year with only 49.8% of those surveyed stating that they found it easy to get through to someone on the phone at their GP practice. This result is at its lowest for the 11-year period that this kind of data has been measured over.

Quite alarmingly, although most patients needed an appointment in the last 12 months, 27.9% said that they avoided making the appointment because it was too difficult. Compared with 2021, this figure was at only 11.1%.

Most patients do tend to continue to be positive about their experience during their past GP appointment. Nine out of ten patients reported feeling confidence and trust in their healthcare professional and felt that their needs were met. A total of 85% of people surveyed felt that their healthcare professional listened to them with 84% stating that their healthcare professional gave them enough time and treated them with care and concern.

It seems that many GP practices have started to move some of their services online now too with more than half of patients using an online service on the website for their GP practice in the past 12 months. Online services provided by different GP practices ranged from booking appointments, ordering repeat prescriptions, filling in a form or accessing medication.

Google Reviews of GP Practices in England reveal an average rating of just 2.81 out of 5. In addition to this, 89% of GP practices are rated below 4 out of 5 on Google Reviews. From this information, we could see that Exeter has the highest rated GP surgery in the country with an average score of 3.52 out of 5 on Google Reviews. It also has six ‘Outstanding’ rated surgeries by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

In contrast, Peterborough has the lowest rated GP surgeries with an average score of 2.4 out of 5 on Google. However, 16% of its practices were awarded ‘Outstanding’ status in their last official inspection.

Out of the 20 worst rated GPs on Google Reviews, Leicester featured a total of six times on the list, with Birmingham featuring a total of four times. Birmingham also has the most GPs that have been rated as ‘Inadequate’ overall by the CQC.

When conducting assessments, the CQC take several different factors into account. They have five key questions to be answered in relation to the care provided which are:

  • Is the care safe?
  • Is the care effective?
  • Is the care caring?
  • Is the care responsive?
  • Is the care well led?

The ratings that can be provided are Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement or Inadequate and are provided based on the assessment. In order to conduct an assessment, the CQC gathers evidence which includes the experiences of patients. The experiences of people and patients is defined by the CQC as:

“a person’s needs, expectations, lived experience and satisfaction with their care, support and treatment. This includes access to and transfers between services.”

The assessment framework used by the CQC clearly sets out what people should expect a good service to look like and makes sure that both gathering and responding to feedback is central to their expectations of providers and systems. Additionally, the CQC provides several examples of what would be deemed to be ‘Inadequate’ care on their website.

Every GP service in the country is assessed by the CQC. This means that you will be able to find the latest inspection report and rating on their website, in addition to older reports and information about who is responsible for running the service.

Despite this, when we here at Simpson Millar conducted our own research into the quality of care provided by GP practices in 2022, we found that over half (56%) of the GP practices analysed hadn’t  been inspected by the CQC for at least three years. At this time, nearly all GP practices in England had either received a rating of ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’.

When conducting our research, we looked at the latest CQC inspection reports and Google Reviews of over 850 different GP practices in 21 major UK towns and cities. We did this with the view of seeing how they compared to one another to determine if it is a ‘postcode lottery’ when it comes to the quality of your local healthcare provision.

According to the CQC figures in 2022, just 2% of the general practices analysed had a rating of ‘Requires Improvement’ and only 1% received an overall ‘Inadequate’ rating following their last inspections.

In comparison, five times as many (15%) GP surgeries had a poor online patient review score of 2 out of 5 or less on Google Reviews with just 11% of the practices having an average Google Review score of 4 out of 5 or higher.

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Average GP Practice Google Review Rating Per Town / City and How This Compares to CQC Ratings

Looking at localities, patient reports suggest there is particular room for improvement in Peterborough, where practices there have earned an average online review score of just 2.4 out of 5 – the lowest of all the 21 towns and cities analysed.

No GPs in Peterborough were rated ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC though and when last inspected, two practices (11%) were considered to require some improvement overall, while three (16%) had been awarded an ‘Outstanding’ rating.

Also at the bottom of the scores are Leicester and Hull (both 2.5 out of 5) as well as  Birmingham (2.59 out of 5). Birmingham also had the most individual GPs that were rated as ‘Inadequate’ overall by the Care Quality Commission  in addition to 6% being deemed to need some improvement. There are also four surgeries here which were featured in the ‘worst 20’ according to average Google Reviews figures.

Additionally, GPs in Leicester were featured six times on the list of the ‘worst 20’ according to patient reviews too and a further 8% were deemed either ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requiring Improvement’ overall in official CQC reports.

One area which had a relatively low patient review score was Hulland. No GPs were reported to be offering a service below expected levels when they were last officially inspected. At the other end of the table are Exeter which were rated 3.52 out of 5 on Google Reviews, Cambridge at 3.36 out of 5 and Oxford with 3.29 out of 5.

In the last CQC inspections of surgeries in Exeter, 35% of those surgeries earned an overall ‘Outstanding’ level. This was the highest of all the areas analysed and was in line with patient reviews too. It also doesn’t have a single GP practice in the area with an overall CQC status below ‘Good’.

In Cambridge, while many patients seemed satisfied with their experiences overall, a relatively low 7% of the practices were deemed to be ‘Outstanding’ when they were last inspected, In Oxford this was 5%.

Patient experiences and official ratings were particularly at odds in Brighton, where the Google reviews score was an above average 3.2 out of 5 whereas the CQC had classed nearly one in ten (9%) surgeries as offering a service below its overall expected level.

Overall, the medical providers that appeared in both the highest-rated top twenty on Google and were awarded ‘Outstanding’ status in official reviews were:

  • Astley General Practice and Ancoats Urban Village Medical Practice in Manchester
  • Granta Medical Practice in Cambridge
  • Woodbury Surgery in Exeter
  • Stonegate Medical Practice in York.

While the providers that features in the lowest rated on Google and were deemed ‘Inadequate’ by the CQC at the time of inspection were:

  • Stanley Medical Centre in Liverpool
  • The Mayflower Medical Centre in Plymouth

Nationwide, surgeries were most likely to have been officially classified as ‘Inadequate’ in the overall safety and leadership/management criteria, while an ‘Outstanding’ rating was most likely to have been awarded to practices who evidenced high levels of responsiveness.

The details of reports published by the CQC can be found by clicking here. Similarly, click here to access the official GP Patient Survey 2023. The methodology and sources from our own study can be found at the bottom of this article.

When considering these findings, Ian Clifton, Medical Negligence Solicitor at Simpson Millar commented:

“GP surgeries are a vital front line of defence for people. We believe they should be adequately funded and support should be made available to implement changes as needed following CQC inspections. It is great to see many GP surgeries being rated well, despite the challenges of the last few years. Sadly, failings in care at GP surgeries can have a devastating impact on patients. Where failings are identified, lessons can be learned that could be shared across all surgeries to protect patients. Patients who suffer as a result of medical negligence often pursue a claim for compensation to pay for follow up treatment, loss of earnings and rehabilitation. However, many take legal action in a bid to ensure that changes are made.” 

If you have been affected by medical negligence, we understand the thought of taking legal action can feel daunting. We’ll work hard to get you the compensation you deserve, but we know your claim may not just be about the money.

Additionally, if you feel that you may have a claim for medical negligence, you can contact our friendly team of expert Medical Negligence Solicitors by calling us today on 0808 239 6043. You can alternatively request a call back from one of our friendly team members.

Sources

List of GPs and practices - https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organisation-data-service/file-downloads/gp-and-gp-practice-related-data 

Google review data - https://www.google.com/maps

To find each GPs CQC rating - https://www.cqc.org.uk/care-service/find-family-doctor-or-gp

Information on inspection processes - https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/independent-healthcare/when-we-will-inspect-independent-healthcare-services

Categorisation information - https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/how-we-inspect-regulate/how-we-prioritise-risk-0

Methodology

1.     We downloaded a list of the latest list of active GP surgeries in England

2.     We filtered these by city

3.     We selected a list of 21 mayor towns and cities, considering their population size and geographical distribution across England - we did not include London

4.     We looked up each GP surgery name in Google Maps, and noted down the number of times it has been reviewed, and the average review rating

5.     We then looked up each GP surgery name in the CQC database and noted down details about its inspection and review ratings

6.     We then worked out the average review rating and CQC ‘standard’ per city or town

7.     We also looked at how recently GP surgeries have been inspected. We refer to 'since the start of Covid-19' which means before 23rd March 2022

8.     When preparing the ‘best 20’ and ‘worst 20’ lists, we discounted any GP practices with fewer than ten online reviews

9.     In some towns / cities, there were not matching listings on Google and the CQC database (in terms of the practice name or address) and so only the available data was included and counted

References:

Ipsos MORI. (2023). GP Patient Survey Results Released. Retrieved from https://www.ipsos.com/en-uk/2023-gp-patient-survey-results-released (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

NHS England. (n.d.). GP Patient Survey. Retrieved from https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/gp-patient-survey/ (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Mirror. (2023, January 18). Best and worst of Britain's GP surgeries revealed - how does yours compare? Retrieved from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/health/best-worst-britains-gp-surgeries-30525486 (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). Find Family Doctor or GP. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/care-services/find-family-doctor-or-gp (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

GOV.UK. (2023). GP Patient Survey 2023 Results. Retrieved from https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/gp-patient-survey-2023-results (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). The Importance of People's Experience. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/assessment/importance-peoples-experience (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). Quality Statements. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/assessment/quality-statements (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). Quality Performance. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/assessment/quality-performance (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). Assessment. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/assessment (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). When We Will Inspect Independent Healthcare Services. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/guidance-providers/independent-healthcare/when-we-will-inspect-independent-healthcare-services (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Care Quality Commission. (n.d.). Find Family Doctor or GP. Retrieved from https://www.cqc.org.uk/care-services/find-family-doctor-or-gp (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

NHS Digital. (n.d.). Organisation Data Service. Retrieved from https://digital.nhs.uk/services/organisation-data-service/export-data-files/csv-downloads/gp-and-gp-practice-related-data (Accessed: 14/12/2023)

Georgina Emsley

Solicitor, Medical Negligence

Areas of Expertise:
Medical Negligence

Georgina is a Solicitor who works in our Medical Negligence team here at Simpson Millar, based in our Manchester office.

She is a committed and highly reliable Solicitor with a track record of supporting clients through the process of making a claim to achieve the best outcome for them. Georgina has experience working on many high-value cases with a range of circumstances and complexities from start to finish, where she reviews medical records, liaises with experts and gathers evidence in order to negotiate the best possible settlement for her clients.

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