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Major issues with GP access being tackled in Derby

21/07/15

Many people in Derby face significant issues accessing GPs. Healthwatch Derby City listened to people views and called for change.

Receptionist on phone

We spoke to Healthwatch Derby to find out more.

Why did you investigate this issue?

We had heard a lot from people about the trouble they’ve had accessing GP services in Derby, so we decided to look at it in more detail to evaluate the extent of the issue. Through surveys and events we collected 1270 people’s experiences, covering all 17 wards of Derby City.

What did patients tell you?

Many people had problems booking appointments, often it difficult to get through on the phone booking system. We also heard that patients with complex needs are not receiving the appropriate support they need, for example, a patient who doesn’t speak English as their first language is encouraged to bring an English speaking friend to their appointments to help with interpreting, rather than this support being provided at the surgery.

What happened as a result?

We shared what people told us about their experiences with our Overview & Scrutiny department and Health and Wellbeing Board. The Overview and Scrutiny department were deeply affected by what they heard, and made a formal request for our data. They then called a full public meeting where elected members of the council cabinet could directly challenge NHS England about the poor service on offer.

NHS England agreed that there is an unacceptable inconsistency in access to GP services in Derby and told us what they are going to do about the problems we highlighted. As a direct result of our work, Quality Forums have been set up to look at complaints received by GP services and how to share best practice. Community Support Teams have also been put in place to enhance links between community and hospital services, ensuring the patient is kept at the heart of all decisions.

Read more about Healthwatch Derby’s report on access to GP services.

If you’re having problems accessing GP services in your area, contact your local Healthwatch and let them know.

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