Summary of report content
Healthwatch Darlington’s ‘What’s important to you survey’ found that the people of Darlington were raising concerns about access to General Practice (GP) services. They used the findings of previous research they did and undertook further research where they spoke to 430 people.
The findings of the survey give information about how people perceived the services to be; from booking appointments, choice, communication, administration, and accessibility whilst also incorporating feedback from receptionists and nurse practitioners..
Better communication was also a common theme, not just from a service users perspective but also from professionals within the system. Education was also thought to be important, especially regarding the perceived role of staff by the public. Distributing useful information to the public about the different roles within the practice could help the patient understand who they have an appointment with and why, and also what different terms mean, such as self-care, and why it is not always necessary to see a named doctor. Primary care needs to be more aware of the help and support that is out there for patients and to use statutory organisations such as Healthwatch Darlington to help with signposting people to other organisations across the Borough.
The report contains 10 recommendations about working together, more user-friendly websites and better information on services.
The report includes a response from the provider and commissioner.