Assessing Complaints Information on GP Websites

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Lewisham assessed the complaints information on GP websites for ease of access, quality and clarity of information and for accessibility of information for people with additional communication needs. They also checked if the page provided advocacy information and signposted patients on how to escalate their complaints. They obtained an up-to-date list of GPs within the London Borough of Lewisham from the Lewisham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) which comprised of 38 GP practices, but could access 37 surgeries as one of the websites was not working at the time of writing.

The report found the quality of the information about complaints on local GP websites was not consistent; 6 out of 24 GP surgeries that listed complaints information on their websites provided very detailed information, 7 provided satisfactory levels and 13 either had no information or extremely limited text; of the websites that listed the complaints process, the information was easy to find on the websites’ menus.

The report recommended GP surgeries to update their websites and included suggestions to ensure the information was in an intuitive place describing how the complaint will be handled, time scales and expected steps; provided a named person that the complaint should be addressed to and inform people what options they had to escalate their complaint; provided information on complaining to independent bodies and carry out an annual audit of the information to ensure accuracy. 

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General details

Report title 
Assessing Complaints Information on GP Websites
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Lewisham
Date of publication 
Friday, 1 March, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 13 July, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 13 July, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Complaints procedure
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Website Feedback
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
Not known
Sexual orientation 
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 
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? 

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.