GP access discussed at Telford and Wrekin's Health & Wellbeing Board

Members of Telford and Wrekin's Health & Wellbeing Board met on 22 June to discuss improvements to GP access and the patient experience.

The Health & Wellbeing Board is a partnership between Telford & Wrekin Council, local NHS organisations and voluntary groups.

The board received a report updating on work to improve access to GPs in Shropshire Telford and Wrekin from the Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin Clinical Commissioning Group.

The report stated that:

• GPs are offering more appointments now than before the pandemic.
• More phone consultations and digital/online options are being offered.
• There has been an increase in appointments delivered on the same day, an increase in appointments delivered after one day and an increase in appointments delivered after 2-7 days.
• There has been a reduction in appointment waits of eight days and over.
• Targeted support is being offered to GP practices where patients have issues accessing their GP.

Cllr Angela McClements (Labour), Chair of the Health and Wellbeing Board, said: 

"Our local NHS did an incredible job during the pandemic, but we know that supporting our NHS has never been more important right now.

"The Health and Wellbeing Board is a public meeting where we can raise issues and work together with the NHS.

"Today, we heard about the GP access issue, which I know is something our residents feel very passionately about.

"Whilst it was good to see that some progress is being made about GP access, residents do still continue to have concerns about access and members of the Health & Wellbeing Board will continue to raise this issue on behalf of our residents and support our NHS as much as possible.

"We want our residents to know that we are on your side, so if you have any issues you want to let us know about to do with health and wellbeing, then please tell us, email: and we will ensure that these are passed on to our NHS providers"

Claire Parker, Director of Partnerships for Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin clinical commissioning group, said:

"Demand for GPs has increased from pre-pandemic levels, and the demand on our telephone systems has been unprecedented.

"We have been looking at data at individual GP practices and providing targeted support to those where access to GPs needs improving. 

"Across Telford and Wrekin, we are improving call queuing systems and ensuring that GP practices arrange to contact patients who drop off a call.

"We are also linking up with Telford & Wrekin Councillors to hear specific residents' concerns or soft intelligence that we can use to tackle this issue."

Barry Parnaby, Chair of Telford & Wrekin Healthwatch, said:

"GP access is the top issue people are currently contacting us about.

"People are frustrated at the length of time they're waiting on a telephone to speak to a GP.

"I was pleased to see the report today at the Health and Wellbeing Board, that progress is being made and this issue is being given a lot of focus.

"GPs are working very hard, and we all need to look at better ways for the people of Telford and Wrekin to access GPs."

Pictured: (left to right) Telford & Wrekin Council representatives on the Health & Wellbeing Board, Cllr Andy Burford, Cllr Kelly Middleton, Cllr Angela McClements.