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.
- 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.
- 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.