Report shows people in Lancashire find it difficult to get GP appointments

Healthwatch Lancashire have published a report highlighting the difficulties people in Lancashire face when accessing GP services which includes a response from Lancashire’s leaders in primary care.

Your GP Your Say ReportHealthwatch Lancashire gathered responses from more than 1,000 people across Lancashire to a survey, created with NHS England, to find out if they feel their GP service is convenient and to understand how people would like to access appointments.

The key findings of the report showed that 76% of people said that their GP practice is open at convenient times however, more than half of people said that they find it difficult to get urgent or same day appointments. Almost a third of people said they find it difficult to get routine appointments.

Those who said they had difficulties said that it was due to the availability of appointments, problems with contacting by phone and work commitments. 238 people said that they had visited an A&E service as a result of difficulties with seeing their GP.

The survey also looked into areas that could help improve access for patients with 635 people saying they would be happy with telephone consultations and more than a quarter of people said that they would be happy to have consultations by video link.

A response is included in the report from the Lancashire Primary Care Co-Commissioning Management Group, which is made up of representatives from clinical commissioning groups and NHS England including GPs. The group have thanked Healthwatch Lancashire for the engagement project and said that they will use the information to inform commissioners about the potential unmet need and expressed demand for primary care services.

Healthwatch Lancashire at Longton Health CentreSheralee Turner-Birchall, Healthwatch Lancashire Chief Officer, said: “The findings from our Your GP, Your Say report highlight that many people in Lancashire are struggling to access GP services.  It is of real importance that those who manage and run services use this information and other sources of patient feedback to shape and improve services for people in Lancashire.

“I would like to thank all those people across Lancashire who shared their views and experiences as part of this project and our dedicated volunteers who made a significant contribution to the project.”

Healthwatch Lancashire is currently delivering a programme of patient engagement activities in GP surgeries to gather further information about the experiences people have when visiting their GP in follow up to the Your GP, Your Say project.

Pictured right: A member of the team speaks to patients at Longton Health Centre

Click here to read our Your GP Your Say Report