Summary of report content
Healthwatch Walsall undertook research into patient’s user experiences of services during 2019-2020. Specifically, the research focussed on patient’s experience of contacting GP surgeries. The research was gathered preceding and during the outbreak of COVID-19. Intelligence was gathered using various forms, including an online patient survey and ‘mystery shopper’ calls to a selection of surgeries and practices.
Healthwatch Walsall found that whilst most patient’s calls got answered first time, patients were concerned with the automated telephone messages they were given. They frequently found them to be too long as well as having confusing and contradictor information. Additionally, patients were concerned with the length of time from the end of the message to being spoken to by surgery staff or to join a queue to speak to them.
Healthwatch Walsall recommends that whilst the move to online access is inevitable, it should not leave behind those who cannot or will not access digital services. Healthwatch Walsall recognises that those patients that cannot access healthcare when they need it from GP surgeries, migrate to other service providers such as local pharmacists, emergency departments and even web searches for diagnosis. Causing potentially treatable conditions to become long term and causing strain on other services that are accommodating the extra demand.