RESIDENTS have rated Swindon’s GP services as among the top third across the country in the latest survey from NHS England.

More than 3,000 people took part in the survey and questionnaires about their experiences in doctor’s surgeries across the town between July and September last year and January and March 2014 and contributed to the report broken down by local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).

Of the 3,502 people who took part, 87 per cent ranked their overall experience of their GP’s surgery under the NHS Swindon CCG as fairly good or very good.

Meanwhile 81 per cent said they would definitely or probably recommend their surgery to someone who had recently moved to the area compared to 88 per cent under the NHS Wiltshire CCG and 79 per cent of people nationally.

MP for South Swindon, Robert Buckland, was pleased that the majority of those who responded to the survey were satisfied with the service.

He said: “This is an excellent reflection of the very hard work put in by Swindon’s GPs and their increasing use of new ways in which to make their service even more patient-centred.”

Swindon was also ranked above average when it came to making appointments, with 76 per cent of respondents rating their experience of making an appointment good or very good, and 92 per cent ranking the convenience of their appointment as good or very good.

But only 35 per cent of respondents were able to have an appointment on the same day that they called.

More than 600 people – 23 per cent of those who took part in the survey – said they had to wait a week or more before they could fix an appointment with their doctor, despite only nine per cent calling to make an appointment more than a week in advance.

Mark Dempsey, the Labour Party’s Parliamentary Candidate in North Swindon, said that under the Labour Party GPs would guarantee appointments in 48 hours for those who needed them.

He said: “I am concerned that these figures show that Swindon has the fourth highest number of patients waiting longer than seven days to see their GP. Over 20 per cent of patients faced a wait of a week or more. This confirms what many patients tell me – that patients are waiting longer to see their GP.

“Labour will guarantee that patients can get appointments within 48 hours or on the same day for those who need it by investing £100 million in GP surgeries – saved by scrapping David Cameron’s NHS market rules.”

In the survey, Swindon was also above average when it came to how long patients were left waiting to see their doctor in the waiting room, with 11 per cent of those surveyed saying they waited less than five minutes compared to only nine per cent nationally.

The majority of people – 56 per cent of the 3,449 who took part – said they had to wait between five and 15 minutes compared to 57 per cent nationally, and 26 per cent had to wait more than 15 minutes to see their GP compared to 27 per cent nationally.

But most people tolerated the waiting time, with 57 per cent saying that they felt they did not normally have to wait too long to see their doctor. Another 27 per cent said they felt they had to wait a bit too long, with only nine per cent saying they had to wait far too long, which corresponded with the national average.