GP access over the course of the pandemic: phase 1

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Summary of report content

The Health & Wellbeing Board at the borough commissioned Healthwatch Hammersmith & Fulham to undertake a study into how the move to digital and remote (telephone, virtual and online) GP services over the COVID-19 pandemic has affected residents.

The study took a two-stage approach to bring together patients and vulnerable and disadvantaged patients/community groups to identify and explore patient experiences.

  1. Survey – A set of questions were agreed with key partners and stakeholders, and promoted boroughwide and through the CCG and LBH&F. The survey opened on 21st September and closed on 19th November 2020.

A total of 181 survey responses were collected.

  1. Workshops/Focus Groups – Co-production sessions were arranged and facilitated by HWH&F with the aim of delving deeper into the data emerging from the survey.

35 people participated in the sessions.

The research found that the majority of participants contacted their GP using the telephone and gave variable responses when asked how satisfied they were with the service. Whilst people were fairly confident in using technology to access GP services, their comfort level for receiving healthcare in this way was lower.

The data also showed that in light of their experiences of accessing GP services digitally and remotely, the majority of people we heard from would not alter their use of digital services when accessing their GP in the future.

The most popular method of contact was by telephone, although many noted that this route of access needs substantial improvement in order to be efficient.

It is clear that the digital offer must be only one area of a much wider and improved access offer for patients and that substantial IT support and capacity building within the community and with individual patients is necessary for digital access to be a meaningful option for many within the borough.

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General details

Report title 
GP access over the course of the pandemic: phase 1
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Hammersmith and Fulham
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 13 April, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 21 September, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 19 November, 2020
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Quality of appointment
Service delivery organisation and staffing

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Yes
What type of organisation requested the work 
Local Council
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
Survey

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Age group 
18-24 years
25-64 years
65-85 years
85 +
Gender 
Female
Male
Prefer not to say
Sexual orientation 
Heterosexual
Homosexual
Prefer not to say
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
No

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.