Focus on – GP practices: Patient feedback on accessing GP services and changes made due to Covid-19

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Focus on – GP practices: Patient feedback on accessing GP services and changes made due to Covid-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Worcestershire
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 22 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 23 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
Not applicable
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

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.