Patient satisfaction with GPs has dropped to its lowest ever level, new figures show.

Each spring, patients across England complete the GP Patient Survey 2022 about how they feel about their local GP services.

The results show 69.3 per cent of people in the area would describe their GP experience as ‘good’ – down from 83.2 per cent in spring 2021, and the lowest in any year since 2018, when comparable data is first available.

The survey further found that 37.9 per cent of people with long-term health conditions do not feel they have had enough support from local services – up from 32 per cent last year.

The results also show 14 per cent of respondents in Blackburn with Darwen had avoided booking a necessary GP appointment because they did not want to burden the NHS, and 10.7 per cent because they did not want to risk catching Covid-19.

Between January and April more than 700,000 people responded – including 2,037 patients in the NHS Blackburn with Darwen CCG area.

Across England, satisfaction was at its lowest level on record, with 72% of respondents describing their overall experience as ‘good’ – down from 83% last year.

The survey results were weighted and rebalanced to account for differences in age, gender, and other demographic factors between areas.

An NHS spokeswoman said the NHS is “determined to make it easier to get an appointment, which is why the health service has invested record amounts in primary care, including offering a new telephone service which increases the number of phone lines practices have for patients".

She said practices are open and encouraged people to come forward with any worrying symptoms or health issues.

Director of primary care for Lancashire and South Cumbria Integrated Care Board, Peter Tinson said: “We welcome the results from the annual GP Patient Survey as this provides us with valuable information about the experience of patients in accessing their GP surgery.

“At the time the survey responses were being gathered, GP practices were at the centre of delivering the COVID-19 booster programme as well as their day-to-day services for patients.

"Practices were and still are facing significant workforce pressures both from covid-related absence and a sustained reduction in the number of GPs from 864 in September 2015 to 750 in March 2022 across Lancashire and South Cumbria. In addition, GP practices are experiencing an increase in patient demand for their services. 

“Despite this, general practice continues to provide more appointments - in May 2022 there were in excess of 75,000 appointments offered to patients in Blackburn with Darwen, 60 per cent of these being face to face and 55 per cent being provided on the same day they were requested.

“It is encouraging that the majority of people were happy with the appointment that they had been offered, and also patients’ confidence and trust in their healthcare professional remains high. Across the board, we are in line with or above the national average for patient satisfaction, however we do look to continuously improve our patients’ experiences.

“What the GP patient survey data also tells us is that many people are being offered a choice of appointment time and type and more options around which health professional they see. We now offer a range of appointments including face-to-face and telephone consultation as well as a range of additional roles within practice that can offer help to patients when they need it. 

“We’ll continue to work with our partners such as community pharmacy to look at ways we can improve access to same-day appointments and ensure that people are supported to access the right service to get help.”