GP Access - Executive summary

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Summary of report content

This is the summary report for Healthwatch Harrow's full GP Access Report. Healhtwatch Harrow conducted a research based on findings from the intelligence gathered from their CRISPI database (Concerns, Request for Information, Signposting and Intelligence) over the past year or so, pertaining to concerns local people have expressed about GP accessibility. The report details the results of this research which was gathered from November 2016 to March 2017, with the objective of: Focusing on patients experience in accessing their local GP practice; Identifying key themes and trends of the research; Report findings and make recommendations. The methodology used included: desk-based research (based on the findings from other stakeholders’ reports and tools), on-line survey, facilitating 9 community-based focus groups and telephone and mystery shopping- all done in order to obtain quantitative and qualitative information and data as part of analysis and subsequent report. Total of 236 residents participated in the research of which: 143 surveys were completed (November 2016 to March 2017) and 93 people participated in 9 community focus groups. The report states that most people reported the customer care received from their GPs and reception staff as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ and the majority were able to see a male or female doctor of their choice, whilst some were unaware of this option. Most people found it difficult to get an appointment to see their GP with an average waiting time of 7-10 days to see their preferred GP. Patients with varying levels of disability and language issues reported greater difficulties in accessing and making an appointment linked to poor communication and attitude of surgery staff. Some patients found difficulties cancelling their GP appointment due to phone lines being continuously busy, while others were unaware of how to make a complaint about their GP (even the on-line complaints procedures varied widely with a small number of surgeries having no direct links to their complaint’s procedures). People’s knowledge varied on where and how to access A&E, Walk in Centres, Urgent Care Centre and Pharmacies services. The majority of the GP surgeries websites were easy to navigate however, the websites did not give information on translation services, and some giving the option to google translator or how to access to Urgent Care, Walk in Centres and 999 information. The websites also had inaccurate and/or out of date information on local advocacy and complaints services and on out of hours information. The majority of GP’s out of hours telephone messages gave information on their timings and NHS 111 service but varied greatly in giving information on access to Urgent Care and Walk in Centres. Most GP surgeries offered either direct or telephone translation services with a waiting times ranging from 1 day to 2 weeks, with urgent translation only offered if a staff member was able to translate in the required language. Most of the GP surgeries offered a texting appointment reminder service to its patients and one surgery offered telephone reminder service. The report also includes the details of the CQC audit and ratings for the GPs. Healthwatch Harrow made several recommendations for Harrow CCG commissioners and GP practices to help improve their services.

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General details

Report title 
GP Access - Executive summary
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Harrow
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 26 September, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 November, 2016
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 30 March, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Complaints procedure
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Focus group
How was the information collected? 

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 
Specific ethnicity if 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? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 

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.