Research Article

General practitioners' opinions of health services available to their patients.

BMJ 1991; 302 doi: (Published 27 April 1991) Cite this as: BMJ 1991;302:991
  1. N R Hicks,
  2. I A Baker
  1. Department of Epidemiology and Public Health Medicine, University of Bristol.


    OBJECTIVES--To establish a means for general practitioners to express their views about health services available to their patients, to identify services that general practitioners perceive as most in need of improvement, and to establish good working relations between the health authority's purchasing team and local general practitioners. DESIGN--Postal questionnaire survey of general practitioners. SETTING--Bristol and Weston health district. SUBJECTS--226 general practitioners, of whom 171 replied. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Scores of quality and quantity of hospital and community services, frequency that services were identified as priorities for improvement, and the nature of written comments received about services. RESULTS--There was considerable agreement among respondents about which services were adequate and which were inadequate. Most services were perceived as at least adequate in both quality and quantity, but seven services were perceived by more than 60% (102) of doctors as inadequate or worse in quantity and eight by 10% (17) of doctors as poor in quality. Orthopaedics, ophthalmology, care of elderly people, and physiotherapy were the services doctors most wanted improved. CONCLUSIONS--A postal questionnaire is an acceptable and accurate method of obtaining general practitioners' views about services available to their patients. General practitioners' priorities differ from those obtained from hospital medical advisory mechanisms.