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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Bucks undertook a survey of the public about their experience of healthcare appointments, including whether pre-existing appointments had  been cancelled, during the Covid-19 pandemic.  They received responses from 479 people who said they lived in Bucks or used services in the county and had an appointment after 23rd March until the survey closed.

Just over a third of the appointments had been booked before 23rd March.  Over two thirds of the hospital appointments had been made before 23rd March, whereas nearly nine in ten of GP appointments were made after that date. Of the 479 responses 43% were about a hospital appointment and 57% related to a GP appointment.

For hospital appointments nearly half were cancelled or postponed by the service and 10% of GP appointments. Over two in five  appointments took place remotely, mostly by telephone. Very few patients said they’d cancelled or postponed their appointment themselves.

The report explores whether people had received instructions or advice to prepare for their face-to-face appointment, the precautions taken to protect them from catching Covid-19; their experience of remote appointments, what happened if the appointment had been cancelled by the GP or hospital and by the patient.

The report contains recommendations about providing information to people about their appointments and how to improve remote appointments.

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General details

Report title 
Open for business?
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Buckinghamshire
Date of publication 
Friday, 11 December, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 15 June, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 20 July, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Cleanliness hygiene and infection control
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Waiting times and lists for treatment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
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
Secondary care services 

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
All people 18 and over
Sexual orientation 
Not known
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? 
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? 
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
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.