Summary of report content
Healthwatch Wandsworth developed an anonymous survey to ask their local people to share their views and experiences on how digital and telephone appointments with GPs and other health and care services has impacted them since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. They also worked to reach a wider community via 1 to 1 interviews and online forums for further insight - this included groups with special educational needs, faith groups and different age groups.
- They found that views and experiences of using digital and telephone appointments were mixed, even amongst different sections of the community.
- Some praised and preferred telephone appointments, particularly for routine checks. Common reasons included needing less time to go to the surgery and not having to wait in the waiting room and for those who may have difficulty leaving home.
- Others fed back negative experiences of digital and telephone appointments. They most often referenced long waiting times to speak to healthcare personnel, unhelpful first points of contact, rushed calls and feeling that they did not provide the same level of care as face-to-face appointments.
Based on their findings, Healthwatch Wandsworth recommend that while digital and telephone appointments can work well for straightforward appointments such as check-ins and repeat prescriptions, they work less well for more complex or sensitive issues or when physical cues or examinations are important.