GP access is an issue attracting national attention. We have been receiving widespread feedback about people's difficulties using digital and telephone appointment booking systems and accessing face-to-face appointments, after the shift to online systems during the pandemic.
This report draws on user feedback to identify the key issues people are facing in relation to general access, booking appointments, attending appointments and staff and communication. Our research involved conducting a survey between 30th July and 31st August 2021 and an audit of all Southwark GP websites between 19th July and 18th August 2021.
Based on our findings, we made recommendations a series of recommendations to improve access to GP services.
This project has enabled us to foster a closer partnership with the Southwark Primary Care Group which includes a consortium of the GP federation and Southwark CCG Primary Care Commissioning team. We have been actively involved with their Access Plan meetings and presented our research findings at the Southwark Borough Based Board. GPs are currently reviewing their websites based on the findings from our website audit and are seeking our advice on improving patient involvement and engagement opportunities. We have highlighted our concerns with communications between GPs and patients and are currently having discussions to find a way to positively highlight the work of GPs behind the scenes, to improve public understanding and expectation. GPs will be offering an enhanced service in October 2022 with more face-to-face appointments which will help to tackle access issues.