Methods of GP access report

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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.

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General details

Report title 
Methods of GP access report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Walsall
Date of publication 
Monday, 14 December, 2020
Type of report 
Patient experience
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
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? 
Not applicable
Does the information include staff's views? 
Does the information include other people's views? 
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 

Outcomes and impact

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? 

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.