Accessing care and your GP practice survey

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Bolton carried out research to find out the difficulties that patients were having when trying to access health care from their GP practice. They wanted to focus on patients who either did not have access to the internet or own a smartphone and were not technically savvy.

There were concerns over the changes post COVID-19 to the way surgeries operated. Summary of their findings includes:

  • When contacting their GP, most people preferred to use the telephone, however, many people struggled to get through to their GP practice on the telephone.
  • When using digital platforms, most people didn't find this very easy.
  • When asked about quality of care, most people felt it had got worse since changes were made to accessing their GP.
  • Most people are unhappy about the type of appointment they were offered.
  • Most people self-cared if they were unable to get a GP appointment.

The report contains recommendations by Healthwatch about how to improve contacting and accessing GP practices, and about better information providing, particularly via pharmacies.


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General details

Report title 
Accessing care and your GP practice survey
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Bolton
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 13 April, 2022
Date evidence capture began 
Sunday, 1 August, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 30 September, 2021
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Building and facilities
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of care
Staff attitudes

Methodology and approach

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 
Sexual orientation 
Prefer not to say
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact
Tangible impact (not cost related)

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.