Communication support at GP practices in Redbridge

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Summary of report content

Between July and October 2017, Healthwatch Redbridge assessed 45 GP practices in the area on how well they were meeting the requirements set out by the Accessible Information Standard (AIS). At this point, the AIS had been in force for almost three years, and it requires all NHS services to make sure that people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss get information in a way they can easily access. 

They found some practices were not meeting people’s communication needs. For example, only three websites were accessible to those with a sensory impairment, and more than half of the practices relied on family and carers to help communicate with patients.

Using our Enter & View powers, Healthwatch Redbridge made a number of recommendations to the GP practices so that visiting the doctor could be made easier. Each visit was documented and individual reports were published with each report providing information gathered through the visits by Healthwatch trained volunteers. Reports listed any recommendations from the visit and provided each practice with an opportunity to respond and tell Healthwatch Redbridge what they planned to do in order to enhance accessibility for people with communication impairments. Between June and August 2018, Healthwatch Redbridge revisited all GP practices to see what changes had been made since these initial visits.

Impact: they found a 12% increase in GP practices that now have their own website, which enables people to view additional information relating to the surgery. There was a 40% in GP surgeries that had a communications book. There was a 8% decrease in people who had to rely on other people to aid their communication when visiting the GP. Significantly more (35%) GP practices trained their staff members on communicating with people with communication impairments. 

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General details

Report title 
Communication support at GP practices in Redbridge
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Redbridge
Date of publication 
Friday, 1 February, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 3 July, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 6 August, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Building and facilities
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff training
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 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
All care professionals
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible Impact (cost related)

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.