Ability to secure GP appointment is top concern for patients, study shows

As reported by the Birmingham Post, a study has shown that the ability (or inability) to make a GP appointment is the number one concern for Solihull patients

Healthwatch Solihull reached out to patients for feedback between April and September last year, in order to gauge what elements of the local health services were most important to the community.

After receiving 1,000 feedback forms and speaking to patients at 83 different events, it became clear that struggling to book a GP appointment is the number one concern raised by patients.

Healthwatch Solihull has summarised its research in a report, which will be considered by councillors this week.

Most patients did say that they are generally happy with their practice, but the majority added that acquiring an appointment is an ongoing issue.

‘They struggle to get an appointment over the phone and online,’ said the Healthwatch England report.

‘Poor access has a knock-on effect. Long waits to be seen can prevent people from being diagnosed, treated and referred to specialist services.’

Healthwatch Solihull took the initiative to launch this investigation and has now published a series of recommendation in order to combat the problems, including more efficient ways of handling the inevitable influx of calls at the start of the day and training staff in customer service properly.

Speaking at the time of these recommendations’ release, counsellor Tim Hodgson, deputy leader of Solihull’s Green Party group, said: “People raise this sort of thing with me all the time and from personal experience if you don’t phone at eight o’clock on the dot, you’re not going to get an appointment.

“People phone reception and just can’t get through or if they can get through then they can’t get the day they want or they might not be able to get an appointment with their [usual] doctor.”

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