GP online access report

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen wanted to investigate service user experiences regarding digital health support so that the information can be used to commission these services. Online and paper surveys were used alongside eight focus groups and an Enter and View visit to Darwen Healthcare. 54 people completed the surveys and 80 people attended the focus groups. The main themes that emerged from this investigation suggest that patients lack access to digital means (WiFi); people wanted support to register for online services; a simpler registration process is needed; more information needs to be promoted about the online services; a wider range of appointments needs to be offered online; and patient's preferred choices need to be maintained. From these findings, a number of recommendations have been made. These included better accessibility to digital devices, data and reliable Wi-Fi; increasing confidence in using the online booking apps with more support in doctors’ surgeries and wider community for those who would like to register and try it; use simple language supported by visual and audio means in the app and the ability to book translation and BSL services on the app when making online appointments; booking apps and registration process need to be unified and simplified across GP Practices and enable carers and parents to manage dependents where appropriate; wider choice of appointment times and availability; and providing reassurance that face to face and telephone reception services will remain available for patients who prefer these options.

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General details

Report title 
GP online access report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Blackburn with Darwen
Date of publication 
Monday, 28 January, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 October, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 31 December, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Digitalisation of services
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? 
Engagement Event

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 
All people 18 and over
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
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.