6. Recent Treatment or Advice from the GP Practice
- The vast majority of people who had contacted their GP practice in the last 12 months had also received treatment or advice. Around three quarters of people had most of their treatment or advice provided by a doctor.
- People were generally positive about their experience of person-centred behaviours. They were most positive about understanding information they were given and feeling listened to.
- People were more likely to report that their symptoms had got better than their overall wellbeing.
The Memorandum of Understanding  between Health and Social Care Partnerships, the British Medical Association, NHS Boards and the Scottish Government sets out the principles underpinning Primary Care in Scotland. It describes seven key principles for service redesign, one of which is about Person-Centred care:
Partnerships between patients, their families and those commissioning and delivering healthcare services work to provide care which is appropriate and based on an assessment of individual needs and values and is outcome focussed, demonstrates continuity of care (in the context of both professionals and services), clear communication and shared decision making. Having regard to the five principles underpinning the Health and Social Care Standards: dignity and respect, compassion, to be included, responsive care and support and wellbeing.
Most Recent Treatment or Advice
Those who had contacted their GP practice within the last 12 months were asked, if they had received treatment or advice at their GP practice in this time, what they had received treatment or advice for.
Respondents were asked to tick all the reasons for treatment or advice that applied to them and Table 1 details the total proportion of people selecting each reason. Only four per cent of people did not receive any treatment or advice.
The vast majority (87 per cent) of those who had received treatment or advice had selected only one reasons for seeking treatment or advice. Only two per cent of people selected three or more reasons for seeking treatment or advice.
Table 1: What did you receive treatment or advice for?
|Reason for treatment or advice ||%|
|An injury or accident||8|
|Another physical health problem||52|
|A mental health problem||9|
|A routine appointment||25|
|No treatment / advice received||4|
The last time treatment or advice had been received from the GP practice, most of that treatment or advice was provided by:
- a doctor for just over three quarters of people (76 per cent);
- a nurse for one fifth of people (20 per cent);
- a pharmacist for only one per cent of people; and
- someone else for three per cent of people.
Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with eight statements relating to person-centred behaviours they experienced the last time they received treatment or advice at their GP practice. People were generally positive about their experience of person-centred behaviours with more than 75 per cent of people rating six out of the eight statements positively, as shown in Figure 6.1.
Figure 6.1: Summary of responses to person-centred statements
The most positively rated statements were 'I understood the information I was given' and 'I was listened to' (95 and 93 per cent positive respectively).
The statement with the lowest positive rating was 'I knew the healthcare professional well', with half of people (50 per cent) rating it positively. This statement also has a significantly higher negative rating (26 per cent) than the other statements. However, those who had contacted their GP practice more frequently in the last 12 months were more likely to respond positively to this statement.
People were also less positive about the statement 'I was given the opportunity to involve the people that matter to me', with a per cent positive rating of 58 per cent. However this statement has the highest neutral response of all the statements (38 per cent) and has a negative rating consistent with the other, more positively rated, statements (four per cent). This question also had a noticeably lower response rate than the other statements which suggests people may have felt the statement was not applicable to them and so chose to leave it blank.
Looking at the per cent positive ratings based on whether most of the treatment or advice was provided by a doctor or a nurse, these were broadly consistent with the overall ratings as can be seen in Figure 6.2.
Figure 6.2: Summary of responses to person-centred statements by healthcare professional providing most of the treatment / advice
Previous surveys asked similar questions around the statements 'I was listened to' and 'I was given enough time' specifically in relation to doctors and nurses. The proportion of people agreeing with the statements in relation to doctors remains broadly steady. There has been a small decrease in relation to nurses:
- 'I was given enough time' was rated positively by 90 per cent of people in 2017/18, a decrease from 95 per cent in 2015/16; and
- 'I was listened to' was rated positively by 93 per cent of people in 2017/18, a decrease from 95 per cent in 2015/16.
Effects of Treatment or Advice
Respondents were then asked to describe the effect that the treatment or advice had on both the symptoms they were experiencing and their overall wellbeing. Around a fifth of people either felt that it was too soon to say or that this was not applicable to them (22 and 19 per cent for symptoms and overall wellbeing respectively).
Figure 6.3 shows the responses for those who were able to describe the effects. People were more likely to report that their symptoms had got better than their overall wellbeing (64 per cent vs. 56 per cent). The proportion of people selecting 'Got worse' was the same for both symptoms and overall wellbeing (five per cent).
Figure 6.3: The effects of most recent instance of treatment or advice from the GP practice
Those who were treated or advised by a doctor were more likely to report that both their symptoms and overall wellbeing had got better (65 and 57 per cent respectively) compared to those who were treated or advised by a nurse (62 and 51 per cent respectively).