Ashton Medical Group

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Tameside decided to undertake research into what patients thought about Ashton Medical Group, a new surgery formed from a merger of 3 practices in 2018. The data used in this report was collected between June and September 2019 from 94 people.


A majority of the people who were using Ashton Medical Group on the days Healthwatch Tameside visited, or who provided feedback in other ways between June and September 2019, had concerns they wanted to share. However, whatever they felt needed improving, most people praised the staff across the practice.

The main area of concern was the difficulty people had in making an appointment. Healthwatch Tameside have been told by Ashton Medical Group that changes have been made to the telephone system, and it is being monitored closely. Additional staff have also been employed. This is expected to improve patient experience, by reducing the waiting time when calling the practice. These changes do not appear to have been noticed yet by the people we spoke to. As the changes begin to take effect, to start with people may assume they were just lucky, rather than seeing the shorter waiting time as the norm.

Communication has possibly played a part in the dissatisfaction among patients. Some people say they have not received enough (or any) information about the merger and the changes made during the following months. Some people told Healthwatch Tameside that they still get confused about where to go and what to do.

The feedback about repeat prescriptions is mixed. It is not clear why for many people this ‘goes smoothly’, but for others there are delays and/or errors in what has been prescribed. It is clear from the responses to the final question about a proposal for group appointments, that some people are open to try new ideas, but others do not like to change from what they have always known.

How can the patient experience be improved for both groups of people? Ashton Medical Group know that they still have some way to go before the changes of the past 18 months, and those that are still to come, can be seen to be working. From previous work, Healthwatch Tameside have seen that it takes a long time for people to forget about a poor experience and remember the improvements. The expectations people have can be quite different too.


A number of recommendations were made covering the following areas:

  • Making an appointment
  • Reception and waiting area
  • Online access
  • Communication
  • Prescriptions
  • Parking

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General details

Report title 
Ashton Medical Group
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Tameside
Date of publication 
Monday, 2 December, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 1 June, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 30 September, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Car parking access
Communication between staff and patients
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 
Engagement event
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 
All people 18 and over
Mixed / multiple ethnic groups
Sexual orientation 
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? 
Not known
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.