Nearly all patients say their GP or nurse is kind and respectful, but only just over a third report they are contacted to see how their care or treatment plan is going.

These are some of the findings of the new national quarterly survey of general practice patients being carried out by the Health Quality & Safety Commission and Ministry of Health alongside their hospital patient experience survey that has been running since 2014.

About 20 per cent of general practice patients respond to the quarterly survey that is emailed or texted to selected patients following their visit to see their GP, NP or registered nurse. The survey was piloted for several years while it was rolled out nationally to all practices. The Commission has now started publicly releasing selected findings of the extensive patient survey which asks about their recent experience with their GP or nurse, their medication, medical tests, long-term conditions, their interactions with allied health professionals and specialist doctors, and about any visits to emergency departments or hospital stays.

The three questions that received the highest positive responses from patients nationwide were:

  • Does your GP or nurse treat you with respect? (95.9%)
  • Does your GP or nurse treat you with kindness and understanding? (93 per cent)
  • Did you follow the instructions when you took the medication? (90.9%)

The three questions that received the lowest positive responses from patients nationwide were:

  • Were you told what to do if you experienced side effects? (55.5%)
  • Did the specialist doctor ask what is important to you? (53%)
  • After a treatment or care plan was made were you contacted to see how things were going? (37.4%)

Richard Hamblin, the Commission’s director of health quality intelligence, said until now

New Zealand did not have a consistent national approach to collecting information on patients’ experience of primary care on a regular basis.

“Patient experience is central to quality improvement. By focusing on the coordination and integration of care, rather than just the latest visit to a GP’s surgery, this survey uses primary care as a window into people’s experience of the whole health care system.

“It enables patients to have a voice that the health teams that care for them can hear in a direct and timely manner. The survey results will be a vital tool for practices to use in their quality improvement activity to improve patient outcomes,” said Hamblin.

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