Healthwatch Shropshire (HWS) has received many comments regarding the availability of GP appointments in the last year. The public seem generally unaware of extended access appointments (appointments available outside normal surgery opening hours) being available. HWS are gathering further information about access to GP appointments through a hot topic. A hot topic is targeted activity looking at one particular aspect of health and social care and inviting views from the public.
We decided to visit GP surgeries across Shropshire to discuss appointments and see how they are offering extended access appointments, if they are advertising them in the surgery and if they are making patients aware of them when they ask. We visited GP practices representing a range of list sizes and in different areas of Shropshire.
- The practice is housed in a building that is cramped. The senior practice staff are aware of this shortcoming and longer term, are attempting to resolve the matter through relocation to a new build property within the locality.
- The surgery is experiencing high demand for appointments and able to meet 80-90% of requests for urgent appointments.
- The waiting time for a routine appointment with an appropriate health professional is very short. Same day, or following day, appointments are normally available.
- If patients ask to see a specifically named GP there can be up to a two week wait time.
- The surgery offers Extended Access appointments when people cannot get an appointment on the day.
- There was a vast array of different posters on display in the waiting area. It would perhaps be difficult to place information posters relating to Extended Access prominently enough that patients would definitely see them.
- The practice website clearly identifies the opportunity to book appointments within the Extended Access arrangements.
More Information about the Enter & View scheme can be found here.
Please note the findings of this report reflect what we found on the day of our visit and services may change over time. More information about this service can be found on the Care Quality Commission website and the practice website.