Access to primary care - GP surgeries in Somerset: What local people told usDownload (PDF 1.01MB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Somerset undertook research about accessing appointments at GP surgeries as this issue came up in other research and their feedback. They produced a digital survey that was open for one month and aimed to talk directly to people at one GP surgery for each of the 13 Primary Care Networks in Somerset during this time. There were 355 responses to the survey.
Seven in ten people booked their appointments over the phone, with the next most popular booking method being face-to-face. Most respondents said the booking process worked well.
When asked: “What could be done to improve your experience of booking an appointment?” the most popular response was an increase in appointment availability.
A significant number of people we spoke to were not satisfied with the length of time it took to answer the phone when they called the surgery.
Some people like to see the same GP at each visit because of the personal relationship they have created. This is particularly so for those with mental health issues. Some respondents were prepared to wait longer for an appointment in order to see their preferred GP.
Some people were not comfortable being triaged by reception staff.
Many people who were satisfied with their continuity of care were seen by the same medical professional.
The report contains three recommendations about increasing appointment availability and call waiting time, increasing information about social prescribing and working people who have long-term conditions to see how continuity of care could be improved.