What you told us about the GP improved access service

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch Wiltshire undertook research into access to GP services, as this was a priority for them in 2019.  They visited a range of GP surgeries across Wiltshire during daytime, evening and weekend hours and interviewed 173 patients, carried out a mystery shopping exercise of 14 surgeries and surveyed 85 GP practice staff.

They found that access to evening and weekend appointments are valued by patients. Overall there was a greater preference from patients for early morning or evening appointments as opposed to weekend ones. Most patients said that they would be happy to see a nurse, paramedic or pharmacist where appropriate. There seemed to be increased awareness and confidence in the triaging process. Three in five of the people we spoke to said that they would consider travelling to be seen at another surgery in some circumstances. However, there was concern that those who are unable to travel should not be disadvantaged.

Improved Access appointments were used and managed in a range of different ways by different surgeries. Surgery staff were not clear about what Improved Access appointments were available at other surgeries and some reported difficulties booking these. Staff thought that the Improved Access Service had improved access for patients, but their views whether it was a good use of their time was more mixed. The people they spoke to reported high levels of satisfaction with the treatment they received at appointments.

The report concludes that access to out of hours appointments is something that is valued by patients and should continue. There were 9 recommendations which mostly concern the implementation of the Improved Access Service and are based on the views of patients and staff.

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General details

Report title 
What you told us about the GP improved access service
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Wiltshire
Date of publication 
Monday, 27 January, 2020
Date evidence capture began 
Monday, 1 April, 2019
Date evidence capture finished 
Saturday, 30 November, 2019
Type of report 
Key themes 
Booking appointments
Communication between staff and patients
Information providing
Quality of appointment
Waiting time to be seen once arrived at appointment
Healthwatch reference number 

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
What type of organisation requested the work 
Primary research method used 
Deliberative 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 
All people 18 and over
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 
All care professionals
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? 
Yes action has been taken or promised
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Tangible impact (not cost related)

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.