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Br J Gen Pract. 1995 Dec;45(401):654-9.

What type of general practice do patients prefer? Exploration of practice characteristics influencing patient satisfaction.

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Eli Lilly National Clinical Audit Centre, Department of General Practice, University of Leicester.



General practice is currently experiencing a large number of developments. Studies of patient satisfaction are required to guide the changes that many general practitioners are introducing.


A study set out to examine the characteristics of general practices that influence patient satisfaction.


In 1991-92, a surgery satisfaction questionnaire of demonstrated reliability and validity was administered to 220 patients in each of 89 general practices. A further questionnaire completed by a member of practice staff collected information about practice characteristics including total list size, number, age and sex of practice partners, training status, fundholding status, presence of a practice manager and whether there was a personal list system. Stepwise multiple regression analyses were undertaken to identify those practice characteristics that influenced patient satisfaction.


The mean of the response rates of patients completing questionnaires in each practice was 82%. An increasing total list size of patients registered with practices was associated with decreasing levels of general satisfaction and decreased satisfaction with accessibility, availability, continuity of care, medical care and premises. The presence of a personal list system was associated with increased levels of general satisfaction and increased satisfaction with accessibility, availability, continuity of care and medical care. Training practices were associated with decreased levels of general satisfaction and decreased satisfaction with availability and continuity of care.


The patients of practices in this study preferred smaller practices, non-training practices and practices that had personal list systems. Practice organization should be reviewed in order to ensure that the trend towards larger practices that provide a wider range of services does not lead to a decline in patient satisfaction. General practitioners should have personal list systems and consider the creation of several personal teams within the practice consisting of small numbers of doctors, receptionists and practice nurses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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