Views of local people in Doncaster about access to GP services are being sought by an independent health and social care champion, as data covering the South Yorkshire region shows 47,000 patients are waiting between 15-28 days for an appointment.
Healthwatch Doncaster have been aware of local and national media coverage concerning the issue of access to GP appointments, and through their online feedback centre alongside anecdotal comments through engagement activities, are keen to gather the opinions of people in Doncaster on this topic.
According to the figures published by NHS Digital, 187,000 patients were waiting or electing to wait more than 28 days in the Yorkshire region.
Healthwatch Doncaster Engagement Team Manager, Jill Telford said: “The information highlighted the importance of hearing local voices when they try to access their GP for an appointment, and the launch of the survey will let patients share their experiences to aid service improvement.”
As spring now turns to summer, which may result in more demand in accessing GP services, Healthwatch Doncaster want to use this opportunity to hear in-depth from patients about their journey, including how aware they are of other local medical facilities – such as the Same Day Health Centre – that they can access for clinical guidance.
“Besides the GP, there are other services that might be able to offer help such as a local pharmacist for a minor ailment, so this survey will identify how people undertake self-care and what they know about services local to them,” said Jill.
NHS Choices advise that all patients should be afforded an appointment quickly if needed and that appointments should be available weekdays and evenings up to 8pm, Saturdays and Sundays either via a local GP, another local GP surgery or via a GP Hub.
Another aim of the survey is to identify any barriers that people may have encountered arranging appointments.
The programme of work for this project will see public engagement activities across the Borough, to support the online survey that will close in early July.
You can find more information about this project here at: www.healthwatchdoncaster.org.uk/accesstogpservices or complete the survey at: www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/rAccesstoGPservices