Summary of report content
Healthwatch Hackney undertook a review of Hackney GP websites as the importance of up to date information on GP websites had assumed a greater importance during the Covid-19 website. The review was undertaken in June and July 2021 and results compared with a similar review a year earlier.
Only 3 out of the 38 practices reviewed provided information about the option to have an extended consultation. This includes and how and when patients can book double appointments to have an extended consultation. This information is needed in order to accommodate the needs of patients with learning disabilities, and communication issues, as well as patients with complex needs.
The majority of GP practices (30 out of 38) did not promote information about the right to have an interpreter. Some Hackney residents have little or no English making it difficult for them to explain their symptoms and understand essential information about issues such as medication. Relying on friends and family is often not appropriate for reason of confidentiality as well as an ability to correctly translate complex medical terminology.
Seventeen out of 38 practices reviewed were still requesting proof of ID and/or address as a requirement to prove eligibility to register as a patient. The NHS guidance is clear that there is no regulatory requirement to prove identity, address, immigration status or an NHS number in order to register as a patient and no contractual requirement for GPs to request this.
Just over half of all practices (19 out of 38) do not provide information about their complaints policy, or the information was hard to find. Many of the GP websites did not provide an online form which patients can use to file an official complaint. Providing an online form makes filing complaints easier and more confidential for patients.
The Patient Participation Group is a group of patients, carers and GP practice staff who meet to discuss practice issues and patient experience to improve the service. None of the practices reviewed were promoting meeting dates or providing up to date minutes from previous meetings. This information is important for patients who want to get involved further, have their say or know more about how their practice is run.
Social prescribing is a way for local agencies to refer people to a link worker. Most practices (25 out of 38) had no information about social prescribing. Three practices provided clear information about services and ten others had the service listed among other services, so further information was needed.
Most practices were offering full online access to services such as online patient registration, online consultations, and requests for repeat prescriptions.
All practices promote information about out of hours services. Some refer to the NHS 111 number, while some highlighted extended opening hours at the practice.
Healthwatch Hackney made individual recommendations to each practice and he report outlines the action Hackney GPs took in response to the review.