Summary of report content
Healthwatch Islington undertook an analysis of information on 32 Islington GP websites during March 2021 to understand information about online services.
Two in five websites had the standard NHS coronavirus pop up when first accessed. Just over a quarter had their own customised pop up. The remaining websites did not have a pop-up on access but, in most, the home page has been customised to provide information about accessing their services and coronavirus. Five websites had little information about coronavirus, safety measures, COVID-19 vaccination, and the priorities for gaining access.
Hardly any of the websites had altered or updated their standard information (on opening hours, available services, and appointments, for example) to take account of the new circumstances arising from the pandemic. Patients not confident with accessing information from websites (or where English is not their first language) could be confused by information on the home page telling them not to attend in person, presented alongside sections providing information on opening hours, clinics, and services as though they can still be accessed face-to-face.
There were a small number of websites that had out of date information on them. This could impact on patients’ confidence with the rest of the website.
Only about a third of websites had information about safety measures when visiting the practice or when out in the community. Hardly any had information for people who wanted to get help for their child or someone they were caring for.
Around half referred to the Covid-19 vaccination campaign, mainly not to contact the GP. Only a few websites explained the importance of getting vaccinated or addressed concerns that patients might have.
All of the websites provided at least minimal information on how to contact the practice (usually with a short reference to NHS 111 and emergencies 999). The information about e-consult was usually from that provider website, but generally had fairly limited information on what to expect. If someone is not familiar with the internet or does not have English as a first or familiar language, it may be difficult for them to understand exactly what will happen, or what to expect from an online consultation.
Translation services for web content were not readily available on more than half the websites. Although all websites gave access to NHS information and many to the BBC Health News, there was little access to other helpful websites