Patient Access to GP practices report

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch volunteers rang all GP practices across Redbridge in order to assess the current situation regarding patient’s access to practices. They created a script to ensure similar information was sought from each practice to identify how practices are offering appointments, the length of time it takes to book an appointment, and whether and in what circumstances a patient would be offered a face to face appointment.

Volunteers found that:

  • call waiting times varied greatly varied between most practices- they were on kept on hold for an average of ten minutes;
  • it took an average of three telephone calls before a volunteer could get through to a practice- practices were called five or more times before the call was answered;
  • several practices had pre-recorded message with information relating to Covid-19 and their appointments system- they were generally useful, however, on a few occasions the message lasted for three minutes which made it difficult for the caller to remain focused, process all the information and remember which number to press at the end of the message;
  • telephone appointments were being offered at all the practices while some even offered additional advance telephone appointments for non-urgent matters alongside the “on the day” appointments;
  • only some practices were offering online or video appointments- only one offered patients to email photos to their GP e.g. a photo of a rash;
  • only some practices were offering bookable face-to-face appointments following a triage telephone appointment;

The report contains recommendations from Healthwatch Redbridge.

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General details

Report title 
Patient Access to GP practices report
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Redbridge
Date of publication 
Thursday, 22 October, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 21 September, 2020
Date evidence capture finished 
Monday, 5 October, 2020
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Digitalisation of services
Information providing
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
If this work has been done in partnership, who is the partner? 
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? 
Does the information include staff's views? 
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Service manager
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? 

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.