Patients want more involvement and engagement from GPs on care decisions

Patients want to be more involved in their care but feel GPs are currently not delivering good communication or shared decision making, according to a snapshot of opinion published by The Patients Association today.

Patients too often feel disempowered and disengaged from their care, report feeling patronised by their clinicians and want to be more involved in planning their care, more involved in decisions about their treatment and better supported to manage their conditions independently.

The recent survey of patients found that 80% want to be more involved in decisions about their care and treatment. However almost 40% of respondents to our survey say they rated their GPs communication skills as five out of ten or less.

New figures from The Patients Association’s Helpline also reveal that 26% of calls relating to primary care are about poor communication, such as rude and dismissive GPs or difficulties obtaining a referral to see a consultant.

In addition, patients often report not receiving the compassion, dignity and respect which they deserve and which the NHS Constitution entitles them to. Only six out of ten patients believe that their GP treats them with compassion.

When patients did raise concerns with their GP nearly one in four felt that the response was poor and shockingly 4.4% of respondents said they had been removed from their GP’s list after making a complaint.

The Patients Association is recommending a number of lsquo;calls to action’ in the four key areas which the report highlights:


– Communication skills to be part of the appraisal process of GP revalidation

– The CQC to use its inspection process to detect poor communication and recommend improvements


– The NHS Commissioning Board to make a clear statement against the rationing of services, and to take action where it is clear that services are being rationed on the basis of cost rather than clinical effectiveness.


– The GMC to put in place a new definition of what a lsquo;breakdown’ in the relationship between the GP and patient would consist of.

– Action to be taken, in the form of sanctions, against those GP practices that continue to defy existing guidance and remove patients from their list after they raise a concern.


– Priority should now be given to developing integrated care models before CCGs start the process of commissioning services.

Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of The Patients Association, said

ldquo;Patients are being asked to make a huge leap of faith in GPs, but a snapshot of experiences reveal key concerns around poor communication, difficulties obtaining referrals, cases of deregistration and a real challenge around the integration of services.

With only six months to go until a historic shift takes place in the NHS, our report shows that the overwhelming majority of patients want to be involved in decisions about their care but urgent steps are needed to deliver better communication skills and joined up local services. We want to work with the GMC, CQC and the Department of Health to deliver change locally that is patient led.rdquo;

Notes to editor:

The full report‘Patients and GPs – Partners in Care’can be found here

In March 2012 The Patients Association published a research piecelsquo;The Waiting Game’highlighting increases in NHS waiting times for elective procedures, such as hernia and cataract operations. This report can found on our website here

Also see The Patients Association’s reportlsquo;The NHS Constitution: Fact of Fiction’on patients’ rights in the NHS here

For further information or case studies please contact The Patients Association on 020 8423 9111

The Patients Association is a healthcare charity which for almost 50 years has advocated for better access to accurate and independent information for patients and the public; equal access to high quality health care for patients; and the right for patients to be involved in all aspects of decision making regarding their health care. By listening to patients, we are able to campaign to improve services. We will work with all healthcare providers to improve services. Very often patients think they are alone with the problem or complaint they have. When patients talk to us we are able to track problems arising in more than one place and realize there is a nationwide issue that needs change.

EDIT 04/10/12: Several people contacted us to say the link to the file below was broken. This link has now been repaired and should be working normally. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience caused.

[hopeButton type=”medium” color=”red” textColor=”#FFFFFF” url=””]Download the document[/hopeButton]

Author: The Patients Association

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.