General practice nursing report

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Summary of report content

The four Healthwatch of the Black Country; Healthwatch Dudley, Healthwatch Sandwell, Healthwatch Walsall and Healthwatch Wolverhampton were commissioned by Wolverhampton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on behalf of Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainable Transformation Partnership (STP) to carry out work collecting feedback from patients about their knowledge and experiences of using General Practice Nurses to help inform the decision making of several projects linked into the STP Primary Care Strategy.  220 people were engaged via focus groups.

Although some participants had good knowledge of the roles of practice nurses many did not, and the lack of knowledge meant there was possible under use of nurse appointments. Having more information on the roles and skills of nurses would help some patients to decide whether to book an appointment with a nurse instead of a GP.

The availability of appointments to see a nurse as opposed to waiting for a GP appointment was seen as one of the positive reasons for booking appointments with a nurse, along with the perception that nurses had more empathy than doctors and had more time for patients.

A number of participants felt that they were more likely to make an appointment to see a nurse for female related issues as there was a perception that practice nurses were generally female as opposed to GPs being more predominantly male. The perception of nurse and doctor roles being gender specific whilst helpful to encourage some patients to make nurse appointments can also mean that male patients could be less likely to consider making a nurse appointment.

Whilst there was general agreement that having more information on the roles and skills of nurses would help to encourage more patients to make appointments with nurses, there was not a single suggestion of ways that that information could be made more widely available. However, it was the case that it was seen as the responsibility of the practices to make patients aware of the roles of their nurses.

It was seen as a missed opportunity, that online booking did not signpost patients to nurse appointments or allow them to book nurse appointments online. Development of this alongside any other information on websites or in practice waiting rooms provides an opportunity to improve take up of nurse appointments. However, the key way that take up of nurse appointments could be improved could be through signposting by reception staff as part of a triage process when appointments are booked. Whilst this is used in some practices it was not the case for all of the participants in the engagement, but that approach was widely supported by those that took part.

There were 5 recommendations about how to improve take up of nurse practitioner appointments. 

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General details

Report title 
General practice nursing report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Dudley
Healthwatch Sandwell
Healthwatch Walsall
Healthwatch Wolverhampton
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 16 September, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of staffing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
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? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 
Engagement Event
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? 
Not known
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? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.