Information about services on dentists and GP websites during coronavirus outbreak

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Bucks undertook mystery shopping of  dentist and GP websites to see whether there was information about how they were working during the Covid-19 pandemic. They assessed:

  • what information there was on dentist websites about how to get treatment when the surgeries had to be closed (in May)
  • what information there was on dentist websites about how they were working when they could reopen (in June)
  • what GP websites said about how they were delivering services (in July)

 

They found some great examples of websites that provided clear information about services. They also found websites where it wasn’t easy to see how the practice was operating or where it looked as though the way services were being delivered as usual. A few didn’t seem to mention COVID-19 arrangements at all.

 

Healthwatch Bucks welcomes the approach taken by many practices of having all the key information in one place. This was often on the homepage or one page away. This is a helpful way to draw peoples’ attention to important changes.

 

They know from another project that people look to the websites of local organisations for trusted information. This suggests that more patients could be encouraged to use websites for service information (eg via links in texts, on social media or telephone messages). This could help free the telephones for those without access to the internet.

 

The report contains separate recommendations for dentists and GPs about how to improve the information on their websites about services during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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General details

Report title 
Information about services on dentists and GP websites during coronavirus outbreak
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Buckinghamshire
Date of publication 
Friday, 11 December, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Friday, 1 May, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 31 July, 2020
Type of report 
Report
Key themes 
Information providing
Service closure
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Healthwatch reference number 
Rep-7976

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Observation
How was the information collected? 
Research
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
99
Does the information include public's views? 
No
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
No
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
Does the information include other people's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Neutral

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
No
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
No
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.