A mystery shop of Croydon's GPs on registration

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Croydon conducted a mystery shopping exercise where staff and volunteers rang up all of Croydon's GP practices (57) three times over a five week period in November to December 2018 to ask how they could register with their practice. They assessed the waiting time to pick up, staff attitude, staff helpfulness and accuracy in line with the standards of the NHS Primary Care contract that states that anyone can registered without a request for identification, and in the case of homeless people, without an address or formal identification. They found the average waiting time was 2 minutes. However, there were two that had a hold time of 11 minutes. 68% of practice’s attitude were rated positively and 70% of practices were seen as helpful. 77% of practice’s did not give the national standard information that they could just fill in a form without any identification. While 58% found themselves consistent with what they said on the phone, only 7% had placed accurate information on their websites. These are the recommendations from this report: GPs should meet national standard in registering people without any ID; GPs should make the process of registering easier, applying the well-written and clear information as shown on NHS website to their own websites; GPs should clearly show that people with temporary or no fixed address can register under their GPs practice address. As a result of their report, NHS Croydon Clinical Commissioning Group responded that they would recirculate information around registering patients, and ensure GP reception staff are aware of the correct process to improve consistency across the borough, and promote the use of the additional appointments available at our extended access hubs and ensure that these are also available for homeless patients.

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General details

Report title 
A mystery shop of Croydon's GPs on registration
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Croydon
Date of publication 
Monday, 4 March, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 19 November, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Friday, 21 December, 2018
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Health inequalities
Health promotion
Information providing
Service delivery organisation and staffing
Staff attitudes
Staff training
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 about conditions and diseases

What type of pregnancy or maternity themes are included in the report 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
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 
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
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.