Good practice - a report into the accessibility of GP practice websites

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Manchester conducted a review of over 80 GP practice websites and found that the overwhelming majority did not meet the requirements set out in the NHS Accessible Information Standard.

The Standard sets out the information and communication expectations of the NHS for its providers, in order to meet needs of patients, service users, carers and parents with a disability, impairment or sensory loss.

Out of all the websites reviewed, only 1 had any EasyRead versions of text directly available on the website, with the others requiring patients to submit a request and wait anywhere from 5 to 28 working days for a reply. None of the websites also provided any British Sign Language translations of text.

The NHS has been increasing the level of digital involvement in services for a number of years and the COVID-19 pandemic has quickened the pace of change, moving services and functions online due to the restrictions on face-to-face meetings.

Whilst this has proved beneficial for some, many vulnerable residents have found it difficult to adapt to the new changes, especially when they are expected to use websites to access healthcare services which do not have the required functions or support to allow them to do so. 

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General details

Report title 
Good practice - a report into the accessibility of GP practice websites
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Manchester
Date of publication 
Thursday, 30 September, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Saturday, 1 May, 2021
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 30 June, 2021
Key themes 
Access
Administration
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing

Methodology and approach

Primary research method used 
Observation

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 
83

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes

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.