Appointment systems at Southwark GP practices

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Southwark created this "Appointment systems at Southwark GP practices - are they working?" report to look at the experiences of local people with appointment booking systems to see their GP. This piece of work was undertaken following Healthwatch Southwark speaking to 397 local people about the issues they thought they should focus on. The most common concern by some distance was the issue of getting timely access to GPs. An enter and view visit was carried out to every GP practice in Southwark and a practice managers survey, a receptionists survey and semi structured interviews with patients were carried out at each. Key findings from the project included:  76% of people said that they find it ‘very easy’ or ‘easy’ to contact their practice, and 23% find it ‘difficult’ or ‘very difficult’.  Comments indicate that getting through on the telephone can be difficult, especially at certain times of the day.  Some people find the time at which same-day appointments are released (usually 8am) difficult for a variety of reasons. The report includes 31 separate recommendations, including: #1. Practices, with the support of Patient Participation Groups (PPGs), should review their telephone systems to identify if any improvements could be made. #5. NHS Southwark CCG and GP federations should review the ‘iPlato’ text reminder system and its impact on appointments where patients did not attend (DNAs), in order to determine whether it should be rolled out to all practices. #11. Practices and GP federations should consider how triage call-back systems could be improved from both a staff and patient perspective. This should look at: The time demand on practice staff & the convenience to patients e.g. if no call-back ‘slot’ is specified.

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General details

Report title 
Appointment systems at Southwark GP practices
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Southwark
Date of publication 
Friday, 1 December, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 May, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 31 August, 2017
Type of report 
Enter and view
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Building and facilities
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff training
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Other information of note about this report 
Case Study
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
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? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Service manager
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.