Emergency department, general practice, or pharmacy services? Service user feedback, Islington

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Summary of report content

Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) wanted to investigate factors influencing how people choose where to be seen and how pharmacy services were used and what other support might be seen in the pharmacy setting. On behalf of the CCG, Healthwatch Islington talked to patients at the Pan-Islington Patient Group in June 2016 about local emergency departments, General Practitioners and pharmacy services. Additionally, a series of focus groups run by partners Every Voice and Manor Gardens Health Advocacy Group were run to include feedback from black and minority ethnic communities. Findings of the report noted that sometimes patients’ choice of accessing services was made by other healthcare professionals. Mainly the influence on choices was perceived need, location, transport and awareness of what was available through existing knowledge and via social networks. Evidence suggested that patients sometimes used Accident and Emergency when another service would have been able to meet their needs. Generally there was trust and confidence in pharmacy services but it was felt that more should be done to publicise what is available, such as lifestyle advice and health checks. Across the groups it was clear that awareness of what was available from different providers varied. Participants had on occasion not used the most suitable service for their needs but this was often due to them not knowing what other service they could have used. In all groups there was confusion about what constituted a serious enough need for treatment at the Emergency Department. There was less awareness about what is on offer at local pharmacies however this may be because some residents are less engaged with services. Two recommendations were made: that Islington CCG and the Local Pharmaceutical Committee should work with partner organisations to promote pharmacy use within the local community; to provide information on alternatives to the Emergency Department at the Whittington Hospital and UCLH for those who could have been seen elsewhere.

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General details

Report title 
Emergency department, general practice, or pharmacy services? Service user feedback, Islington
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Islington
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 31 July, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Health promotion
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Community pharmacy
GP practice
Secondary care services 
Accident & emergency

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.