Access to GP services

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove, Healthwatch East Sussex and Healthwatch West Sussex undertook research on changes to access to GP services as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.  They ran a survey for staff working at GP surgeries and for the public.  Altogether 1,824 people responded.

Key themes from patients included the availability of appointments, difficulty contacting practices by phone, telephone consultations, online GP services and digital confidence, triaging, staff attitudes and face to face consultations and barriers to access.

The themes from the GP staff survey include a tired, overstretched workforce that are becoming frustrated with the public’s demands and attitudes. There is a call for patient engagement to highlight the way in which triaging works and why this is necessary. But what is most striking is the pride the staff have with how they have delivered consultations to the public and the way in which they have adapted their working practices in the fast paced changes that the Covid-19 pandemic brought about.

The report has recommendations about phone systems, appointments, IT and communications.

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General details

Report title 
Access to GP services
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Brighton And Hove
Healthwatch East Sussex
Healthwatch West Sussex
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 2 August, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 October, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 December, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff levels
Waiting times and lists for treatment

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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 
Service manager
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? 
Not known

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.