Spotlight on health at home: How easy is it for housebound people to use their GP practice, dentist, optician or pharmacy

Download (PDF 518KB)

Summary of report content

Healthwatch Newcastle investigated how easy housebound people found using healthcare services and what their experiences were. This was conducted using a survey and a mystery shopping method. All primary care services in Newcastle that provide home visits sent surveys to patients who were coded as housebound. 77 people gave their feedback via the surveys and 56 phone calls were made to a variety of services to see how easy it was to get information about the services housebound people are entitled to and how understandable this information was. The report found that the majority of people experienced good home visits from their GPs but many reported that it needs to be made easier to get a home visit. Only 6 out of 72 people received a home visit from their dentist and 7 of the 8 dental practices that were called said they did not provide home visits and were not able to give details of a dental practice which did. 2 out of 35 people said they received a good home visit from their optician. The opticians that were contacted gave a description of how to book a home visit and this information was easy to obtain. The majority of respondents had their medication delivered and 19 of the 21 pharmacies provided the repeat prescription delivery service and 18 could describe the services and how to set it up. Healthwatch Newcastle made a number of recommendations including that the Local Dental Committee and Local Optical Committee explore how to communicate information about home visiting services to housebound patients; NHS England need to ensure that all dentists and opticians in Newcastle can provide details of dentists/opticians that undertake home visits; and GP practices flag patients who are always going to require home visits so that these patients do not need to explain their entitlement each time.

Would you like to look at:

General details

Report title 
Spotlight on health at home: How easy is it for housebound people to use their GP practice, dentist, optician or pharmacy
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Newcastle Upon Tyne
Date of publication 
Wednesday, 27 March, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Quality of care
Service delivery organisation and staffing
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? 

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
Community pharmacy
Dentist (non-hospital)
GP practice
Optometry services

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
Age group 
Specific ethnicity if known 
Sexual orientation 
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? 

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.