Improving GP access - a top priority at Telford and Wrekin’s Health & Wellbeing Board

Members of Telford and Wrekin's Health & Wellbeing Board met on 14 December to discuss, among other items, 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 an interim report of the GP access survey, jointly run by Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin and Telford & Wrekin Council.

Launched in summer 2023, the GP access survey has been asking people in the borough to share their experience of accessing their GP.

The appeal comes following the findings of the NHS England’s GP Patient Survey 2023 and ongoing concerns raised by residents to both Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin and the council.

At the time the interim report from Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin has been published (early December 2023), 5,395 people responded to the survey, which asked people to name their GP practice and rate their experience making their latest appointment.

Nearly half - 2,477 respondents - rated their experience as very poor while a further 845 rated it fairly poor. 

In comparison, 964 people said their experience was very good and 612 found it fairly good. 

Another 471 people said it was neither good nor poor.

Cllr Paul Watling (Labour), cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health Systems said:

“We want to thank Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin for all their support in running the GP access survey over the last months and in visiting every single GP practice in the borough to look at their accessibility.

“The interim report published shows that a significant number of people in our borough find it difficult to get through on the phone with a GP, to get an appointment at a preferred time or with the GP of their choice. This is very concerning! 

“All the feedback received will be shared with the local NHS so as to prioritise improvements in GP access.

“Thank you to everyone who took part in this survey. To give more people the opportunity to share their views, the survey deadline has been extended until Sunday, 17 December 2023.

“Please, if you haven’t done so already, this is your chance to have a say on GP access – fill in the survey on Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin website.

Simon Fogell, Chief Executive Officer at Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin said:

“Initial results of the GP access survey reveal that at many practices across the borough people find their experience in making their last appointment to be poor or very poor. 

“When people do get to see a GP their overall confidence is positive and okay, with a smaller number saying it is not so.

“After the survey closes, we will publish individual reports for each GP practice outlining people’s experience with their practice.  These reports will be made public for residents and shared with the NHS boards to drive improvements.”

To view the “GP Access to Services” from Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin – Interim Highlight Report to the Telford and Wrekin Health and Wellbeing Board, 14 December 2023, visit the council’s website.