Accessing primary care - the future

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch North Tyneside undertook an online survey about ways to improve access to primary care during the Coronavirus pandemic and asking about their views of how future services should be structured.  235 people responded.

 Most people would be happy to be triaged to receive care from an appropriate healthcare professional based on an assessment of their needs as it would save the NHS money and get them better care. Trust needs to be built in a triage approach. A significant part of this confidence comes from knowing that triage is completed by a trained healthcare professional and not focused on resource management. The approach to delivering online and phone triage and services should be the same – there should be no perceived benefit or improved access by doing something online.

Although face to face delivery of care is still perceived as the best, many respondents said phone and online ways of getting care would be appropriate depending on the issue. For urgent care needs, there was a stronger preference for face to face care in the responses compared to routine or non-urgent care.

People want to get the care they feel they need quickly and see more phone/video consultations as helping to provide a swifter response. Phone/video appointments and triaging people to the most appropriate professional is seen as being more efficient for the NHS. They are also seen as being more convenient and saving time for service users by most people who responded to the survey.

Consideration must be given to people’s access needs. Some people will need support to make best use of technology, others may always struggle to use technology. People want confidence that certain conditions/issues will be dealt with face to face and that there will be flexibility to deal with anxieties and support needs. Face to face can give a more holistic view of a situation and a better understanding of views/impact of family/carers. Risk of infection is best managed by not attending a surgery, but if needed, waiting rooms should be easier to manage if only small numbers of people are waiting.

Clear communications with service are essential so people know the different ways they can access services, what they can expect and what they need to be prepared for. Having similar approaches across all practices would make Borough wide communications better and reduce the ‘postcode lottery’ in GP services.

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General details

Report title 
Accessing primary care - the future
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North Tyneside
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 31 May, 2020
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing

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 
Not known
Not known
Not 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? 
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.