Access to GP services

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch York decided to look into concerns accessing GP services which were identified through feedback, comments and concerns from members of the public, and Healthwatch England’s report about Primary Care in March 2015. Healthwatch York held group discussions with key stakeholders and volunteers at the Healthwatch York Assembly in April 2015 to focus on what they should do and who can help. The team continued to gather feedback on the issue via email, letters, phone or in person. They also held workshops at the Healthwatch York Annual meeting in July 2015 to discuss key issues raised. The York Racial Equality Network (YREN) Open forum was also attended in April 2016 to discuss together the key objective and aims that both the YREN and Healthwatch have in regards to this report, especially changes that can be achieved to make health services more appropriate and accessible to Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) residents. Conversations also took place with York Association for the Care and Resettlement of Offenders (YACRO) and Citizens Advice York about how best to gather more feedback and deliver results. The report gives detailed findings with both qualitative and quantitative data from all the meetings, discussions, questionnaires and other methodology in the process of the project from early 2015 to May 2016. • The meeting at the Healthwatch York’s Assembly highlighted concerns about difficulties making GP appointments, staff lacking awareness of the needs of patients with autism, visual impairments, hearing impairments and other conditions, and lack of information about GP services, in particular the GP Out-Of-Hours service, how it works and its role at York Hospital. • The Healthwatch York Feedback Centre brought attention to issues such as making appointments, the impact of mergers and federations, physical access to GP surgeries and privacy at reception desks. A few examples of good practice at several surgeries is also included in the report. Lack of awareness of options around interpretation was an issue for members of the Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) community and Deaf people. • Workshops held at Healthwatch York’s Annual meeting focussed on problems people are facing with appointments at GPs such as suitable times, long wait on phone, issues booking online etc. People also voiced their concerns about “messy” mergers that proved to be inconvenient for elderly and frail patients. Not knowing what PPGs can do and transport accessibility were also brought up as issues. • The online survey results showed the problems/barriers faced in getting GP general and urgent appointments, staff attitudes and accessibility for people with disabilities, how well the surgery performs overall and the effectiveness of the PPG. Getting to see the doctor of their choice was an issue for almost half of the respondents to the Easy Read survey. • The findings from the young inspectors showed that the parents usually make appointments for their 13-18 year olds and consequently they didn’t feel that involved, but they emphasised that GP staff should get training in some areas that are prevalent in that age groups such as ADHD and self-harm. The young people talked about what they would and wouldn’t like to have in their surgeries. The report includes recommendations from Healthwatch York to NHS England, Vale of York CCG, GP practices in York, Property Physical Access Committee and to the City of York Health and Wellbeing Board. There is no response included in the report.

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General details

Report title 
Access to GP services
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch York
Date of publication 
Thursday, 2 June, 2016
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 2 March, 2015
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 2 May, 2016
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Building and facilities
Car parking access
Communication between staff and patients
Complaints procedure
Quality of appointment
Quality of staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff levels
Staff training
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Other information of note about this report 
Good Practice
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
Structured interview
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Out of hours
Urgent care services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Not known
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.