Last year over 150 patients responded to a survey about ways they would like to see the Practice improve. This survey was conducted in an environment of major building works resulting in unavailability of parking spaces and the need to enter through the Brighton Road entrance creating considerable inconvenience to patients.
The main findings of this survey are summarised below:
Overview of the data:
- 2/3rd of respondents were female
- 75% have been attending the Practice for 2 or more years
- 140 out of 144 responses have attended more than once
- 40% have a Concession or Health Care Card
- None indicated that they were of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander origin
- 75% were born in Australia
- 12% speak another language
- 95% speak English at home
- 40% have a chronic illness or disability
- Just over half have a degree, diploma or certificate at tertiary level
- The under 25 group and the 25 to 59 age group had average scores at or below the 25th percentile
- The over 60s were the most positive
- Females were less satisfied than males
There was a high level of satisfaction with the doctors and nurses:
- Greeted warmly
- Listened to
- Clear explanations
- High degree of confidence in the doctor/nurse
- Encouraged patients to express concerns
- Adequate time
- Considerate of personal circumstances
- Concerned for the patient
- Would recommend to others
Areas identified by patients for improvement:
Lack of opportunity to talk to doctor by phone (16 people from 126 responses)
Unfortunately there is little we can do about this. When doctors are seeing a patient it is inappropriate to answer a call except in very urgent situations partly due to lack of confidentiality if there is a patient in the room. It is the responsibility of the reception staff to determine the importance of the call and the necessity to interrupt a doctor’s consult. Generally a message is taken and forwarded to the doctor to ring at their earliest convenience which may not occur on that day. Doctors cannot provide consultations by phone.
Not satisfied with afterhour’s service:
(16 people from 99 responses)
The Practice remains open on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings for consultations. Outside of these hours, callers are referred to a Medical Deputising Service for necessary out of hours treatment or referred to the 000 service for emergencies.
Unable to see a clinician of choice:
(17 people from 148 responses)
All of our doctors are in high demand and fit as many patients in per day as possible ensuring that each patient has an adequate consultation length with the doctor. We do offer patients the opportunity to see another doctor if they have an appointment time available but there is little that can be done to fit a patient in to the doctor they wish to see at the time they want to see them if the doctor is fully booked.
Comfort of waiting room:
(8 people from 152 responses)
Now that we have a second waiting area in the new extension, the congestion that may have occurred in the past has eased. New comfortable seating has been provided in the upstairs waiting room.
Privacy/ seeking permission for a 3rd party to be present during consultations:
(7 people from 132 responses)
The need for doctors to ensure that a patient is happy to have a third person (e.g. a friend, relative, etc or a trainee doctor) has been emphasised at our doctor’s meetings. Permission should be sought prior to starting the consultation to ensure the patient is comfortable with the presence of a third party
Waiting time was too long:
( 33 people from 148 responses)
Our Practice does not attempt to maximise the number of patients seen per hour. Appointments are 15 minutes for standard ones, 30 minutes for long ones. The doctors do not cut short the consultation if it goes a bit over time as many patients present with more than one issue. If consultations were made longer, there would be even greater difficulty in seeing any doctor. Though the doctors have 1 hour scheduled for lunch and catching up on notes, they rarely get any more than ½ hour. It must be remembered that during and often after consultations, doctors have to enter detailed notes about the patient they have just seen and this takes some time as well. However we are investigating ways that may reduce waiting times.
Treatment by reception staff:
(9 people from 151 responses)
Reception staff are trained to be very courteous and considerate in their dealings with patients. They respond well to those who reciprocate that courtesy. At times patients may take out their frustrations on the receptionists or make demands that cannot be met – this can lead to a less than desirable communication between them and patients.
Information on fees/ payment:
(6 people from 147 responses)
The fee structure is prominently displayed at the reception desk for GPs. Some allied health professionals have provided their fee structure and we have now collected that information from all of them.
Opportunity for complaints:
(7 people from 114 responses)
A suggestion box is now provided in the reception area. This is cleared regularly and responded to by the Practice Manager. Alternatively a letter or phone call will result in a response. Our Practice Brochure provides information about how you can make a complaint if you are not satisfied with our responses.