How was your experiencing of accessing GP led services during the pandemic?
We asked patients in Sussex this question. Read what you told us, what staff working in GP practices said, and NHS Sussex’s plans for improving access
Local Healthwatch have been listening to people’s experiences of accessing GP led services and we have also been listening to the staff who have been working in GP practices through the pandemic.
This project emerged because we were receiving a high level of feedback from the public regarding primary care. Healthwatch managers met to discuss this emerging trend and decided that it was a sensitive issue that required a measured and balanced response.
Working collaboratively with NHS GPs, practice staff, commissioners and local people, our co-designed staff and public surveys gathered views and experience of accessing GP led services over the last 6 months of 2021.
What you told us:
- Long telephone queues are frustrating, especially when having to try to get through multiple times
- Due to long telephone queues, often the ‘on-the-day’ appointment allocations were already gone, resulting in having to call back the next day
- There were mixed reactions over telephone consultations – some preferring the efficiency and immediacy of them, whilst others question the diagnostic effectiveness of speaking over the phone
- many staff expressed feeling tired, overstretched, and frustrated, but also proud of the way they have adapted and delivered services throughout the pandemic.
It is clear from your feedback that access to GP-led Services is very variable, NHS Sussex has shared plans for improving access to GP-led Services, and the headlines of these are included in our report. A full plan is going to the next NHS Sussex Board meeting in September 2022.