Accessing local GP services during the Covid-19 pandemic

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Doncaster worked closely with Primary Care Doncaster - the GP Federation - and NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to find out more about the experience patients who accessed appointments to see healthcare assistants, nurses and GPs in their local surgery via video or telephone call.  320 people responded.

Nearly three quarters had had a telephone appointment, over one in five had a face to face appointment and just 5% had had a video appointment.

People who had had a face-to-face appointment were asked to share their experiences of the changes made in their practice as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. On the whole there were generally positive comments that were supportive of the changes and adaptations.

Three quarters of those who had had either a telephone or video appointment experienced no problems at all.  Three percent said there were lots of problems and the appointment didn’t work for them.  Nearly three quarters felt that that their recent appointment was good or very good.  People were very pleased to see a clinician and get help with their condition. 

More people had telephone appointments that video appointments and some feedback suggests that patients would prefer a video appointment because they feel that seeing someone gives them a better experiential outcome and provides a good alternative to physical appointments. There was a lot of praise about the telephone consultations and appointments that included the speed of callbacks and the quality of the service.

Some of the issues related to telephone and video appointments are linked to communication barriers. This was evidenced by members of the deaf community and people whose first language is not English. There were also improvements highlighted around making sure that older people could use and were confident around the use of technology and telephone/video appointments. People also wanted video instead of telephone appointments and timeslots for appointments could be more specific and take into consideration those who are at work or working from home.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing local GP services during the Covid-19 pandemic
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Doncaster
Date of publication 
Thursday, 12 November, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Digitalisation of services
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
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 
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? 
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? 
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.