Improving patient access and experience in calls to GP surgeries

Professor Elizabeth Stokoe
Loughborough University
Patient and Public Involvement


The primary focus is improving patient satisfaction scores for GP surgeries on the GP National Survey by identifying communication problems in calls to receptionists from patients. Receptionists will be trained to be more effective in these calls, based on research findings, and using a training approach developed by the Lead Person called the ‘Conversation Analytic Role-play Method’. 

What are the Aims?

We are analysing calls between patients and their GP surgery, via receptionists, to understand what works and what is less effective in those encounters in terms of access to healthcare and overall patient experience.

Who was/is involved?

Three GP surgeries in the north of England approached us and provided datasets – recordings of patient calls to the surgery. We will train receptionists at these surgeries as well as targeting other surgeries in England who score badly on ‘experience of making an appointment’ items on the GP Patient Survey.

What has changed/will change?

Patients will be more satisfied with their contact with their surgeries and will have improved access to primary care via the gatekeepers (receptionists who are the first point of contact).

What lessons have we learnt?

We will have learnt that in order to implement changes to practice following a standard post-hoc evaluation of customer/patient/client (etc.) satisfaction, we need robust ways of establishing WHAT to change, and how to train people to implement those changes.

Contact details

Rein Sikvlund,

Prof. Elizabeth Stokoe,

Links to further information and resources