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Your spotlight on local services

BLOG: Current issues in accessing GP services!


Current issues in accessing GP services!

The thoughts of local people

GPs are a universal service, which most of us have accessed. They play a pivotal role in the community, through the provision of advice, referrals and free healthcare. It is a vital service and usually the first point of contact for many when something isn’t quite right with one’s health. Yet over the past year patients have increasingly contacted, Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham about a number of issues. This has included:

  •      Appointments needed to be booked two weeks in advance.

  •      Short contact time with GPs

  •      One issue per appointment

Waiting times is not the only issue that has been raised, receptionists not picking up or delays in answering the phone has also become an increasing problem, leading to people becoming frustrated or seeking alternative ways to book an appointment.

Delays in accessing a GP could lead to delayed treatment and have a negative impact on the patients’ health. There is also the risk of the health issue becoming worse and resulting in more specialised and more expensive treatment. This puts a huge strain on the NHS as they have to pay excessive amounts of money. So why do things appear to be staying the same, if not worsening?

In addition, local people have told Healthwatch that no shows do not help the current issues, not only are people having to wait their turn but ‘no-shows’ also cost the practice time and money. instead of spending time with other people desperate for appointments. Residents have to wait by their neighbours who fail to notify the practice of their late arrival or of a cancellation.  Furthermore, people also shared concerns about other patients taking urgent appointments to have letters written by their GP. So therefore it isn’t all down to the GPs.

To understand the issues further, Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham are undertaking a project to understand the problems and barriers local people face.

Give your views by taking part in the survey:

Take part by completing the survey online https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/BDGPsurvey

If you require a hard copy of the survey please email info@healthwatchbarkinganddageham.co.uk or call us on 0800 298 5331

Every person who completes a survey will be entered into a free prize draw!



Healthwatch Barking and Dagenham
Lifeline House
25 Neville Road
Dagenham, Essex RM8 3QS