Focus on – GP practices: Patient feedback on accessing GP services and changes made due to Covid-19Download (PDF 168KB)
Summary of report content
Healthwatch Worcestershire used its feedback and the results of a survey about Covid-19 to identify specific issues in relation to GP practices. Between 22nd April and 23rd July 2,473 people responded to our survey to provide feedback about their experiences of accessing information and health and social care services during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The feedback received shows mixed experiences of accessing GP practices during Covid-19. While many have given praise to their practices for good responsive care and use of telephone and video calls as a convenient way of accessing timely diagnosis for straight forward issues, people were concerned about the potential for delayed diagnosis due to remote consultations. Some people had difficulty in accessing appointments, in particular face-to-face appointments when patients feel this is required.
Some groups of patients experience particular problems in having remote consultations, receiving online or text communication and accessing online services – e.g. elderly, people with a learning disability and those with sensory impairments. Others reported a lack of specific time slots for telephone and video consultations. People reported issues around privacy and confidentiality when having remote consultations by telephone or video call.
People expressed concerns about the reinstatement of checks for long term conditions and how these can work effectively remotely if patients are required to purchase equipment and take own readings. They also were concerned about how new arrangements, such as waiting outside the surgery and telephoning on arrival will work going forward.
The research shows that there are a variety of ways in which different practices in Worcestershire have responded to the pandemic and are implementing changes. There was also a wide range of practices in relation to communication with patients about accessing services, explanation of changes and reassurance that GP practices are open and available to patients. It is important that GP practices ensure effective communication especially with carers, people with disabilities and those from minority ethnic groups who may experience language barriers.