Summary of report content
Healthwatch Shropshire undertook research into people’s experiences of access to primary care as a result of services provided by General Practices and Pharmacies, as they had identified that this was not the same across the county. They spoke to 80 people.
Healthwatch looked at the ease of getting appointments at GP practices. There was a mix of views as to whether this was a problem: most of the patients spoken to during their Enter & View felt it was ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ to get an appointment at their surgery, but the experiences shared by patients through Healthwatch Shropshire’s general engagement were predominantly negative. Experiences of online booking of appointments was mixed. The availability of appointments with clinicians other than doctors varies across practices. Nearly 3 out of five people who spoke to Healthwatch about accessing routine appointments reported a negative experience.
Over 4 in 5 of people who told Healthwatch about accessing urgent appointments reported a positive experience, but nine of the 11 people spoken to about extended access appointments reported a negative experience. Less than 1 in 3 had heard about the scheme.
Other issues explored in the report included continuity of car, liaison between general practice and pharmacies, general practice opening hours and appointment reminders.
There were 5 recommendations about promoting extended appointments, online and urgent appointments and improving communications between general practice and pharmacies.