Report on ‘did not attend’ appointments at GP surgeries in Goldthorpe Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne

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Summary of report content

In November 2015 an issue was brought to Healthwatch Barnsley attention by Councillor Gollick, on behalf of people living in the Dearne. The issue was that people were struggling to access their general practice. Healthwatch Barnsley reported on this issue in 2016. This report is a continuation of our outreach and engagement work in the Dearne area. In order to gather more information and to speak to people living in the Dearne area, Healthwatch Barnsley arranged two engagement events at Goldthorpe and Thurnscoe Library. These events were publicised in the local press and via social media. As a result of this work, Healthwatch Barnsley spoke to a total of 42 people and found that the issue of people being able to get an appointment at their practice was a common theme. From this research Healthwatch Barnsley can clearly identify a real problem in the Dearne with patients not attending booked appointments at their GP Surgery. Why patients are failing to attend is very important. Are we experiencing a growing culture that ‘it’s free so it doesn’t matter’? Do people’s lifestyles mean they are just too busy to commit? In some cases there are clear barriers that lead to non-attendance such as transportation or caring responsibilities. Whatever the reason, the concern is not just the cost to our health service or the fact that patients are experiencing problems getting an appointment with their GP. The most important factor must be that patient safety is at risk if they cannot get an appointment when things are going wrong with their health. Healthwatch Barnsley recognise that DNA only forms one part of patient access issues. The number of GPs retiring and current lack of replacement trained medical staff available is a national issue. Better lifestyles and access to services has resulted in more people living longer, many with long term health conditions leading to increase demand on services. Technology has also opened up opportunities to book online appointments which is open to abuse (some examples were highlighted to us that patients were booking multiple appointments and would select only the most convenient to them).

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General details

Report title 
Report on ‘did not attend’ appointments at GP surgeries in Goldthorpe Thurnscoe and Bolton upon Dearne
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Barnsley
Date of publication 
Tuesday, 1 August, 2017
Date evidence capture began 
Tuesday, 1 August, 2017
Date evidence capture finished 
Tuesday, 1 August, 2017
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Health and safety
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 
Local Council
Primary research method used 
Engagement event
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 
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.