GP Patient information audit

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Lewisham gathered the views of 68 patients, and carried out a review to assess the consistency and accuracy of GP patient information, in August 2017. The review was of out-of-hours answerphone messages, website information and complaint procedures across the London Borough of Lewisham. Healthwatch Lewisham carried out a comprehensive review of all public facing information provided by the borough’s 43 GP practices. This work was done as part of Healthwatch Lewisham’s evaluation and engagement programme. The report identified a number of key issues. There is a lack of consistency in telephone and website information for patients in Lewisham. 51.5% of those surveyed had used the out of hours services as recommended by their GP practice telephone messages. The majority of these patients had chosen to use A&E. Of those who had used out of hours services, 52.8% were satisfied with the service provided locally and felt their health needs had been met. 68.2% of patients surveyed stated they had never consulted their GP practice website for information regarding local health care services. GP telephone messages were often recorded with a significant amount of background noise which affected the clarity and audibility of the public facing messages. There was good provision for people for whom English is a second language, with over 140 language provision on many GP websites. There was limited use of online services for either booking appointments or signposting information in the sampled population. Sydenham Green Group Practice had excellent patient information around how to make a complaint. The report made the following recommendations: • All information on GP answer machines should be recorded in one message, without patient’s having to press buttons for further information. • Further work is needed to increase awareness of the GP out-of-hours services within Lewisham to improve patient experience and patient outcomes. Further promotion of the new extended access service for patients would be beneficial. • We also recommend that Lewisham GP practices update their website • information regularly to enable patient access to accurate information and the appropriate out-of-hours service. A chart, such as the following at The Surgery, Lee Road, is a useful visual aid. • GPs practices that have the facilities in place should allow patients full access to view their medical • records online. • GP practices should ensure that sufficient details regarding complaints procedures are made available online and displayed in all reception and waiting areas. • All information should be made available in additional languages on GP practice websites, as per the Accessible Information Standard. • NHS symptom checker would be a valuable addition to GP practice website. • To support self-management, the provision of self-care information on websites is a useful tool to empower people to take greater control of their health.

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General details

Report title 
GP Patient information audit
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Lewisham
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 16 August, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 16 August, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Wednesday, 16 August, 2017
Type of report 
Patient experience
Key themes 
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 
How was the information collected? 
Not known

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice
Out of hours

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
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? 

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.