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Patient experience is critical to improving access to general practice


N.A.P.P. responds to the first evaluation of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund: Improving Access to General Practice


The National Association for Patient Participation (N.A.P.P.) was pleased to see the initial evaluation of the Prime Minister’s Challenge Fund.


N.A.P.P. welcomed the range of projects that have increased patient access to GPs, including through extended hours, increased telephone access, and the introduction of online diagnostic and video consultation technology. The evaluation also indicates a reduction in people going to Accident & Emergency in participating areas, helping to take pressure off the wider NHS.


However, N.A.P.P. is concerned that there has been “little change in patients’ levels of satisfaction and experience” despite the Challenge Fund projects covering 7.5 million patients.


N.A.P.P. Chief Executive, Paul Devlin, said “It is good to see ways of increasing patient access to GPs being tried and evaluated, particularly through extended hours, increased telephone access, and various online tools. The reduction in attendance at A&E for minor issues is very welcome too. However, more needs to be done to be sure that changes focus on improving patients’ experience of primary care as, without such a focus, there is a risk that positive change will not be sustained.”


N.A.P.P. urges NHS England to ensure that the second evaluation report explores patient experience more thoroughly, and hopes to see demonstrable improvements in that experience as a result.


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