Summary of report content
Healthwatch East Riding of Yorkshire received feedback obtained from local residents about concerns accessing GP appointments, including waiting for three weeks and appointments at times to suit people who work full time. They carried out engagement across the area and ran a survey. They received 994 responses to the survey from February up to mid-March 2020.
Most people booked appointments by phone, but many found it difficult to get through to the surgery. People booking appointments online reported that they usually had to wait 2 – 3 weeks for an appointment. People who went to the surgery typically reported waiting 1 – 2 weeks for an appointment. Just over half felt that the time they had to wait for their appointment was acceptable for the concern that they had.
Nearly two thirds found it difficult or very difficult to obtain an appointment – with people reporting they had to wait for upwards of 30 minutes to get through by phone. Similar issues were reported by people visiting the surgery.
When asked what was most important to them, people ranked the following issues in this order:
1. Being seen at the earliest possibility
2. Appointments taking place in my own surgery/practice
3. Appointment with a preferred clinician
4. Having an appointment that fits outside of office hours
5. Having a choice in gender of clinician
Public awareness of extended GP access was very limited, but people were willing to use them if they knew about them. They were less willing to travel to another location.
Half the people surveyed rated the appointments system as poor or very poor. People suggested access to online appointments, evening and weekend appointments and using trained medical personnel to answer the phone.
There were 4 recommendations about training for reception staff, increasing awareness of extended hours services and expanding the online booking service to include extended hours services.