Summary of report content
Healthwatch North Yorks undertook a health check of the websites of local GPs to evaluate the usefulness of the information they contained from the perspective of the public, particularly in relation to service changes due to Covid-19. Six volunteers assessed the content of local GP websites from 30 November to 20 December 2020.
Some GP websites were very good, providing a wide range of up-to-date information and appear to have considered their patients as the main users of their site. Over a fifth of GP websites scored positively in 7 or more health check questions. Most websites had links to official NHS or Government COVID-19 information, but there were a significant number of GP practices in North Yorkshire who did not have up-to-date and easily accessible COVID-19 information on their website.
Most websites made it easy to understand how to make an appointment. However, it was also not always clear what types of appointments were available. The appointment options were often situated in multiple locations, potentially creating confusion for patients.
Over nine in ten GP websites provided clear and helpful information about self-care and support organisations to help people take control of their own health.
However, there were websites with many areas in need of improvement. A small number passed less than four health check questions.
Very few GP websites had information about the national vaccination programme. Now that the programme has started, it is important that up-to-date information, detailing progress to date in respect of differing patient cohorts, be made available on GP websites. This could reduce the number of contacts made by anxious patients.
There was insufficient support for interpreter service provision, with only a third providing information on interpreter services. Only half of all GP websites made it easy to find out how to make a complaint. Less than half of GP websites provided up-to-date information about their Patient Participation Group.
The report contains 9 recommendations aimed at improving the information on GP websites.