groupPatient Participation Group

Dear Patient,

patient surveyWe would like to know how we can improve our service to you and how you perceive our surgery and staff. 

To help us with this, we are setting up a virtual patient representation group so that you can have your say. We will ask the members of this representative group some questions from time to time, such as what you think about our opening times or the quality of the care or service you received. We will contact you via email and keep our surveys succinct so it shouldn’t take too much of your time.

We aim to gather around a hundred patients from as broad a spectrum as possible to get a truly representative sample. We need young people, workers, retirees, people with long term conditions and people from non-British ethnic groups.

The patient participation DES was developed by the practice staff with the help from the Patient Representative Group (PRG).  This is the fourth year of the Patient Participation DES. 

During 2014 we continued to invite patients to join the group.  This was done by use of posters in the practice as well as direct approaches when patients contacted their GP, the GP Registrar, Practice Nurse, District Nurse, Health Visitor and Receptionists.

The group currently consists of 46 members.  Once the group was up-dated an email was sent welcoming new members to the group.  The group was asked to help in the production of the patient questionnaire by advising the practice on issues and questions we should include in the questionnaire.  Replies were received from the group. 

The PRG provided a variety of suggestions but primarily focused on appointment availability this year.

Once the information was collated this was discussed at a Practice Meeting and it was decided that this year we should focus on appointment availability and mode of booking appointments.  These were chosen as highlighted by the patient survey but also to gauge usage of online booking appointments which is introduced after the patient survey in 2013.  Also it was decided to question patients on whether they would be happy to see a doctor at a different surgery for routine appointments at the weekend.  This was chosen in view of the recent Watford Care Alliance pilot programme of offering routine appointments over the weekends at two hub surgeries in Watford. The questionnaire was produced and sent to the Area Team for approval. 

The patient questionnaire was distributed to a wide a cross section of the patient population contacting the practice at reception or contacting the Primary Health Care professionals including GPs, Practice Nurses, District Nurses and Receptionists.  140 completed questionnaires were returned.  The results were collated and tabulated in graph and numeric form. 

The results were sent to the PRG in March 2015 requesting the member’s comments and suggestions.   


86% of patients rated the current surgery opening times as either “good” or “excellent”.

In the survey of 2014, 25% of patients showed interest in provision of online appointment booking, and this year’s survey suggests that 12% of patients are utilising this new service.  The majority of patients still  book appointments on the phone and this revealed some useful feedback from patients.

“You are kept on hold for long time to speak to a doctor or get through to reception!”

“By the time I get through to make an appointment for the afternoon, all the appointments are gone, and the next available appointment is not for another week.”

19% of patients felt that it was difficult to make get an urgent appointment with a GP and this is further reflected by the fact that the majority of patients (60%) would like to see more availability of same day appointments. If patients want to see their preferred GP, 49% report having to wait over 48 hours for an available appointment.  11% of patients reported difficulties in obtaining appointments with the practice nurse.

The majority (67%) of patients would be happy to see a doctor for routine appointments at the weekend at a different surgery in Watford.  Interestingly however, a large number of comments were received pertaining to this question, suggestive that patients would prefer to see a GP from their own surgery at the same practice either due to continuity of care or accessibility to the practice.

"I like Dr X - have seen them for a long time"

"work weekends - no transport"

"I know the staff at Garston"

"I've good experience with doctors here, unlike at some surgeries"

"would not have trust and confidence in another"

“All doctors don't have the same manner and aptitude to identify your problem. I'm more comfortable using a doctor of choice"

"Mostly for parking reasons. It is very difficult at some surgeries"

Plan for the future:

We are continuing to raise the profile of on-line booking and encourage our patients to enrol for this.  We are also investigating the number of telephone calls received by reception on a daily basis, requesting for appointments and seeing whether it is appropriate to increase the number of receptionists available to manage the calls.  Having recently launched EPS (electronic prescribing system) we hope that this will not only allow our receptionists to deal with more patients face-to-face, but also answer more telephone calls.  

The demand for appointments is being addressed presently by introducing evening appointments and some Saturday appointments.  This has been funded by the Increased Winter Capacity Initiatives.  Furthermore, the surgery has been involved with the Watford Care Alliance (WCA) programme providing additional appointments at the surgery on alternate Monday evenings between 18.30 and 20.00.  Further WCA appointments are also available every weekday evenings and at weekends.


We are still concerned that there is a preponderance of female attendees at the surgery. So if you are a man reading this please take advantage of all the services and screening we can offer you! These include:

  1. Well person checks
  2. Smoking cessation clinic
  3. Chlamydia screening for eligible age groups


A big thank you to the PRG members and patients for taking the time to help the practice reviews and re shape the services provided.

Confirmation of our opening times
Our opening times have changed to the following:

You can call the surgery between 8.00am and 6.30pm Monday to Friday
The surgery reception is open 8.30am to 6.30pm Monday to Friday
We have additional surgeries on Wednesdays 6.45am to 8.00pm alternate Mondays 6.30pm to 8.00pm and Tuesdays 6.30pm to 9.00pm. (These are for routine appointments).

Outside of these times please call 111 for advice.

pdfClick here for the Survey Results in graph format


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