Healthwatch Lancashire GP report highlights gap in understanding of perspectives between staff and patients

Healthwatch Lancashire has published a report titled ‘A week in the surgery’ as a result of spending a week in a GP surgery to observe the working environment and collate the experiences and perspectives of staff working at the practice.

Healthwatch Lancashire has been undertaking a programme of engagement activities in GP practices across Lancashire since May 2016 to gain patient’s views on the ease of making appointments, the quality of care provided and the awareness of patient involvement via Patient Participation Groups and online access to medical records, repeat prescriptions and booking appointments.

One of the main themes identified was difficulty in patients booking appointments. It was felt that spending time in a GP practice would provide further insight into the challenges of booking appointments.

The views and experiences of nurses, GPs, receptionists, call handlers, supervisors and a pharmacist were gathered and recorded.

Findings from our report showed a gap in understanding of perspectives between staff and patients as well as staff feeling the demand on the service is too high.

There also seemed to be an appreciation from staff on the challenges patients face when booking appointments.

The surgery responded and provided a list of three actions provided by the surgery in relation to how they will improve service users’ experiences following the activity.

Sheralee Turner-Birchall, Chief Executive at Healthwatch Lancashire, said: “Healthwatch Lancashire contributes considerable value into the health and social care system by gathering patient and relatives input into the way services are run. This project enabled us to triangulate intelligence from a 360° perspective considering feedback from patients as well as staff. 

“Healthwatch Lancashire would like to thank the surgery for their response to the report and for the actions which it put in place as a result of our findings.”

The report ‘A week in the surgery’ is available to read online or download on the Healthwatch Lancashire website