Improving access to GP services

Thanks to people sharing their experiences of GP appointments with us, we’ve been able to help local commissioners draw up an action plan to make GP services easier to access for all our residents.
Man on phone
My experience of telephone consultation was good but being offered a video link would be better.
— Patient feedback shared with Healthwatch

Last year, we published a report sharing people’s feedback on GP access during the pandemic, based on phone surveys with residents and an analysis of GP websites. This year, we continued to gather people’s feedback in various ways: interviews with care home managers and voluntary sector organisations; an online survey; and hosting a series of online meetings enabling residents to raise issues about GP access directly with commissioners.

Commissioners have responded by sharing a list of improvements they intend to implement. This will help resolve some issues we had raised with them on patients’ behalf.

Improvements that commissioners plan to implement include:

  • Better use of video consultations, and more consistency in when and why these appointments are offered.
  • Reviewing and improving practice websites to ensure information is up to date and easy to find.
  • Working with e-consult providers to make the platform more user-friendly, particularly for less digitally-confident patients.
  • Reducing the length of recorded messages on practice telephone lines.
  • Providing ongoing support to community organisations to increase their capacity to support residents to access digital services.
  • Reducing the time window when the GP can be expected to call for a telephone consultation, to allow patients more freedom to meet other commitments.

Share your experience

We all appreciate the hard work of health and care staff. Services are now working to bounce back from COVID-19 - but they need our help. Let them know what works and where things could be better.

Share your experience