GP services have been undergoing significant changes and these are likely to continue over the next few years. This could mean having consultations over the phone or on Skype, rather than having face-to-face appointments or directing patients to specialist support, such as dermatology services or local pharmacies.
GPs across the country have been under considerable pressure to meet the needs of a growing and aging population. During a recent meeting to discuss the merger of 4 practices in South Bristol it was estimated that approximately 20% of appointments doctors were dealing with were unnecessary.
Measures are being taken to ease this pressure and to make services more efficient, which means directing people to other services or implementing a new way of doing things. Sarah Ambe is the manager at Healthwatch Bristol. She said: “Healthwatch is a voice for patients and a vehicle of change. We want to help NHS services get better and support these changes. A key part of doing this is to inform the public of what’s happening which is why we are asking them to take part in our survey.”
“There have been a multitude of GP surveys recently asking the public what’s not working and what they’d like to see change at their practice. Healthwatch Bristol has taken a different approach to engaging with the public on this topic and is asking them if they’re aware of these changes and what impact these are having.”
The survey will be open for 6 months with plans to speak to members of the public at selection of practices across the city. Healthwatch will analyse the results once the survey closes and present their findings in a report.