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"I want the right to access services on an equal basis with others, without fear of prejudice or discrimination, when I need them and in a way that works for me and my family."
People should be able to access the treatment and services they need, irrespective of where they live or who they are and have a clear sense of what they are entitled to. People felt that easy and timely access to GPs is particularly important as they are often the gatekeeper for access to other medical services.
“Getting appointments at GP surgeries is a joke. They forget we all have jobs. There are no loopholes or ways round it. You just cannot get an appointment.”
What this could mean in practice
If you need to see a GP, you should be able to choose and register with a local practice, and ask to see a particular GP, especially if you want to see one of the same gender.
If you need to use a health service, the health professional should not deny you access, provide you with a lower quality service or discriminate against you because you are disabled or because of your age, religion, ethnicity, sexuality or gender.
If you need social care and are moving from one council area to another, the councils should ensure you have a continuity of support before, during and after you move.
If you are homeless, you are still entitled to register with a GP. You can do so using a temporary address, such as a friend's place or a day centre. You cannot be refused access to GP services just because you are homeless.
Join the conversation
Tweet your thoughts using @HealthwatchE, or contact your local Healthwatch to share your thoughts and experiences. Some questions to get you started:
- What does the right to access mean to you?
- How do you see this right working in the real world?