GPAQ-R: development and psychometric properties of a version of the general practice assessment questionnaire for use for revalidation by general practitioners in the UK.
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BACKGROUND: The General Practice Assessment Questionnaire (GPAQ) has been widely used to assess patient experience in general practice in the UK since 2004. In 2013, new regulations were introduced by the General Medical Council (GMC) requiring UK doctors to undertake periodic revalidation, which includes assessment of patient experience for individual doctors. We describe the development of a new version of GPAQ - GPAQ-R which addresses the GMC's requirements for revalidation as well as additional NHS requirements for surveys that GPs may need to carry out in their own practices. METHODS: Questionnaires were given out by doctors or practice staff after routine consultations in line with the guidance given by the General Medical Council for surveys to be used for revalidation. Data analysis and practice reports were provided independently. RESULTS: Data were analysed for questionnaires from 7258 patients relating to 164 GPs in 29 general practices. Levels of missing data were generally low (typically 4.5-6%). The number of returned questionnaires required to achieve reliability of 0.7 were around 35 for individual doctor communication items and 29 for a composite score based on doctor communication items. This suggests that the responses to GPAQ-R had similar reliability to the GMC's own questionnaire and we recommend 30 completed GPAQ-R questionnaires are sufficient for revalidation purposes. However, where an initial screen raises concern, the survey might be repeated with 50 completed questionnaires in order to increase reliability. CONCLUSIONS: GPAQ-R is a development of a well-established patient experience questionnaire used in general practice in the UK since 2004. This new version can be recommended for use in order to meet the UK General Medical Council's requirements for surveys to be used in revalidation of doctors. It also meets the needs of GPs to ask about patient experience relating to aspects of practice care that are not specific to individual general practitioners (e.g. receptionists, telephone access) which meet other survey requirements of the National Health Service in England. Use of GPAQ-R has the potential to reduce the number of surveys that GPs need to carry out in their practices to meet the various regulatory requirements which they face.
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