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Your spotlight on health and social care services


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Local people help make Surrey GP services better by speaking up

Thanks to over 100 people in Surrey who shared their views of local GP services, satisfaction with care provided in the county is increasing.

Healthwatch exists to help improve health and social services by putting people at the heart of decisions about local care. They make sure that everybody – from every part of the community has the opportunity to speak up.

Healthwatch Surrey spoke to people between November 2016 and January 2017 to find out what they like about local GP surgeries, and what could be improved. They spoke particularly to under-represented parts of the community, such as those with learning difficulties and people for whom English is their second language.

They found that many people struggle with booking appointments, accessing translation support, and to find information, such as leaflets, in a format they can understand. They also heard that people want more support to manage long term conditions.

Healthwatch Surrey made a number of recommendations to practices as a result of their research. These included:  

  • Ensure they comply with the Accessible Information Standard
  • Display posters and leaflets with information about support groups for long term conditions
  • Explore how appointments should be handled differently for people with long term conditions versus short term ailments
  • Explore the potential to install automatic doors to make it easier for people with sensory impairments and mobility issues to access the surgery
  • Promote online booking

As a result of Healthwatch Surrey’s report 81% of practices have said they are either making minor changes or incorporating feedback into their existing practice. 93% have also said they will consider how appointments for long term conditions are handled to promote continuity of care for on-going needs.

GPs at Moat House Surgery, Surrey said:

“It was useful to see all the points highlighted in one report to think how an action plan can be drawn up to improve.”

Thanks to the views people shared for the ‘My GP journey’ project, a practice in North West Surrey is looking into using a service that sends tailored text messages to patients. 83% of surgeries are also considering how patients with specific conditions can be matched with GPs with relevant interests and expertise.

Healthwatch Surrey has urged local Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to work with patients and carers to promote NHS 111 and make people aware of the full range of services on offer, including out-of-hours GP appointments. They have also called on CCGs to help make online booking systems for doctors appointments easier.


The more that people share their ideas, experiences and concerns about NHS and social care, the more services can understand when improvements are needed. But, to make the biggest difference, we need to hear from more people.

You can make a difference. Find out more about our #ItStartsWithYou campaign or share your experience with your local Healthwatch and help make services better for your community.

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