GP surgeries: Supporting patients during Covid-19

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Oxfordshire contacted the Practice Managers of all GP practices in July 2020 to hear how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted on their surgery’s delivery of service to their patient community. Of the 73 Practice Managers contacted 14 completed the online survey.

Many GP surgeries used multiple methods of communicating with their patients during the Covid-19 pandemic, including text messages, GP website and notices in the surgery.

Covid-19 Hub Clinics are now running where patients with suspected Covid-19 infection have been treated instead of them attending the surgery. Most of the practice managers who replied explained other changes to the services, including triaging patients over the phone and establishing the best way to consult with them.

Many commented that their patients have been very positive in understanding the need for change, whilst appreciating the continuation of service and the options available to them.

There is concern from some practice managers around the Flu Vaccine campaign which is due to start in late September, mainly due to the number of patients involved and having to keep to the social distancing rules.

The survey picked up examples of good practice including ensuring that their practice is as virtually accessible as possible, and keeping in touch with vulnerable, housebound or “at high risk shielding” patients.

Ten of the respondents commented that they were in touch with their PPG but said that due to many PPG members shielding their main communication channel was by email, phone and occasionally by virtual meetings.

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General details

Report title 
GP surgeries: Supporting patients during Covid-19
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Oxfordshire
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 22 September, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Wednesday, 1 July, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Building and facilities
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Health protection
Information providing
Lifestyle and wellbeing
Quality of care
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 

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 
Not known
Not known
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Service manager
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? 
Not known

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.