GP Practices - adjustment to services in Sandwell in response to COVID-19

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Summary of report content

From April 2020 to June 2020 Healthwatch undertook a focused piece of work to establish the overall picture of the GP services on offer in Sandwell in the early phases of COVID-19 and the patients experiences of the GP services.

Healthwatch Sandwell contacted 64 GP practices in Sandwell. 33 responded. A questionnaire tool was designed to enable conversations and to ensure information capture.

Healthwatch Sandwell assessed the COVID-19 safety of 33 of the GP practices. 21 were operating only virtual services, 9 were offering some face to face and some virtual services, 2 were closed, and 1 was operating face to face.  

Healthwatch Sandwell also listened to and considered the content of a selection of the telephone service recordings of these practices. Key issues with these phone messages were that many were unnecessarily long, did not offer alternatives to closed services, or had insufficient contact details. Healthwatch Sandwell also reviewed the GP practice websites. 76% (25) of the practices had sufficient information on changes to services resulting from COVID-19.

Healthwatch Sandwell made several recommendations in this report:

1.Review content validity and comprehensiveness of information on GP websites and update as necessary

2.Consider the possibility of standardising NHS GP Practice pages COVID-19 information

3.Review the patient experience of recorded message routes to access appointments

4.Gather feedback on the SWB Health app

5.Review knowledge of and working links for Social Prescribing service options.

6.Work with Healthwatch Sandwell on the patient engagement and feedback project looking at “using digital technology in primary care services”

7. Consider opportunities for working with Healthwatch Sandwell on engaging patients on primary care services delivered during COVID-19 and planning for future services including via PPG’s and Community Outreach work

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General details

Report title 
GP Practices - adjustment to services in Sandwell in response to COVID-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Sandwell
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 April, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 30 June, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Service closure
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
Unstructured Interview
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider

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 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
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? 

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.