Giving GP Websites a Check-up

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Cambridge and Peterborough wanted to find out how easy it was to find current information on surgery websites about how to access GP services and keep safe and well during the pandemic. They carried out a website audit of GP surgeries throughout Cambridgeshire and Peterborough and checked how easy it was to find key information that was up to date, clear and easy to understand.  They audited 98 surgery websites. The work was carried out between 24 June and 12 July 2020.

From the data collected, it is clear there is a big difference in the quality of GP websites. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted normal working practices and care, at the time of the audit, websites have obviously not been a priority for some surgeries for some time. Half of GP websites did not have the latest Covid-19 guidance for the public. Just 22 out of 98 websites had links to information about changes to cancer services during the pandemic. It was difficult to find information about advocacy support for making a complaint.  72 sites had links to self-care information, but some links did not work. Less than half had information about the practices’ Patient Participation Groups. Two out of three sites did not have good examples of accessible information for patients with sensory loss or learning disabilities. The volunteers who undertook the research said they liked sites containing relevant content presented in a straightforward way and highlighted examples of them.

There were six recommendations about consistency of information and standard of presentation and content; accurate, up to date and easy to understand information, ease of making an appointment, improving accessibility and information about making a complaint.

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General details

Report title 
Giving GP Websites a Check-up
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Cambridgeshire
Healthwatch Peterborough
Date of publication 
Thursday, 17 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 24 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Sunday, 12 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
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 
Not applicable
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? 
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.