By NHS Confederation, [RxPG] The NHS Confederation, which represents 93 per cent of primary care trusts (PCTs), says that the key findings of the Healthcare Commissions PCT patient survey are good news for NHS patients.
Patients overall impressions of their experiences of primary care services are broadly positive and PCTs have made clear improvements in meeting the Governments waiting times targets.
The Healthcare Commissions survey highlights that 74 per cent of patients are seen within the Governments waiting time target of 48 hours for a GP appointment - an increase from 65 per cent in 2003.
Dr Gill Morgan, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said: the Healthcare Commissions PCT patient survey shows that standards continue to improve in primary care services and patient satisfaction is improving.
Most patients accessing primary care services are happy with the care that they receive, for example 92 per cent said that they were always treated with dignity and respect by their GP.
Although largely positive, the survey highlights room for improvement, especially with regards to GP access and registering with an NHS dentist.
Dr Gill Morgan said: of course it is not right that 12 per cent of patients surveyed could not get a GP appointment within 48 hours but the flipside of the coin is that 88 per cent are able to see their GP within two days when they really need to.
It is clear that the 48-hour target is still having unintended consequences in a minority of areas but many PCTs and GP practices have found ways to deal with this and now is the time for this learning to be shared.
We welcome todays announcement by the Department of Health that NHS patients and staff will be asked for their views on advance booking of GP appointments as part of the White Paper public consultation and our members will be feeding their experiences of what works into the consultation.
And PCTs will clearly have a key role to play in the tighter checks on the 48-hour target which have also been announced by the Department of Health today.
The PCT patient survey identified that 69 per cent of patients who were not registered with an NHS dentist would like to be while 75 per cent of those treated by an NHS dentist said they definitely had confidence in their dentist.
Dr Gill Morgan said: Access to NHS dentistry is clearly an issue for patients and we hope that the increased funding being devoted to training more dentists will ensure that access to NHS dentistry improves over time.
However, it is positive that 75 per cent of patients who saw an NHS dentist were happy with the care that they received.
The NHS Confederation represents more than 90 per cent of the organisations that make up the NHS throughout the UK. Its members include the majority of NHS trusts, foundation trusts, primary care trusts and health authorities in England; trusts and local health boards in Wales; NHS boards and special boards in Scotland; and health and social service trusts and boards in Northern Ireland.
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