GP Website Survey Report - New Patient Registration Information

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Southend-on-Sea undertook a mystery shopper exercise to see what information local practice websites held for patients seeking to register as new patients.  This began as part of their work to support people who are homeless, but the implications affect a wider section of the population.

The work was undertaken by staff and volunteers from August 2020 onwards.  Practice websites were reviewed to see what new patients were told about the process and whether documentation was required.  Where the website lacked information, a call was made to the practice to ascertain their practice policy.

Healthwatch Southend found that four practices still lacked websites despite us flagging this to the CCG earlier in the year.  They found that a number of practices insisted on new patients providing proof of address, such as a utility bill, and photographic ID.  The latter goes against NHSE's Primary Medical Care Policy and Guidance Manual, which states that this can discriminate against some patients.  Other practices merely required new patients to bring their NHS card or complete a GMS1 form.  They also found that some practices had information in languages other than English to help new patients register.  Unfortunately the text of these factsheets contradicted the practice’s own policy. 

The CCG has agreed to review the findings.

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General details

Report title 
GP Website Survey Report - New Patient Registration Information
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Southend
Date of publication 
Monday, 4 January, 2021
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 28 September, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 20 November, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Health inequalities
Information providing
Quality of regulation
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Other information of note about this report 
Good Practice

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
Primary research method used 
How was the information collected? 
Visit to provider
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 about conditions and diseases

Types of disabilities 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
What type of impact was determined? 
Implied Impact

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.