Key Points:

  • Healthwatch Croydon was commissioned by Healthy London Partnership to provide patient insight into the access and experience of GP services which has been sent to London’s 1,200 GPs.
  • Residents reviewed proposed guidance and then gave their views on what could be improved including waiting times, trust, supporting selfcare and avoiding discrimination.
  • Recommendations included taking a personal approach with patients, improving information, language and support for refugees and asylum seekers, use of technology, understanding the community they serve and staff and training.

A diverse group of Croydon patients have helped Healthy London Partnership develop a guide to improve better access to GPs as well as patient experience to help London’s 1,200 GPs give their patients the best possible access to GP services. These residents came from a range of backgrounds from those who have lived in Croydon for many years to those who recently arrived as refugees. Carers, parents and those with long-term conditions were also represented. Through a focus group chaired by Healthwatch Croydon, Healthy London Partnership got to hear first-hand the challenges that patients had in accessing and using GP services.

A webinar was presented on 22 September, which will be presented shortly on the Healthy London Partnership website. https://www.healthylondon.org/our-work/primary-care/gp-access/

You can see the full press release and report here: https://www.healthwatchcroydon.co.uk/learn-more/our-reports/ 

Siân Howell, GP and Clinical Lead for Access, Transforming Primary Care Team, Healthy London Partnership, NHS England and Improvement said:

“The contribution of the team at Healthwatch Croydon and the wonderful patients you recruited for our focus group has been invaluable. The patients were well briefed and gave well informed, thoughtful and constructive feedback on the work we are doing.  We made lots of changes to the London General Practice Access Guide and Manual guide because of the Healthwatch Croydon patient focus group. This included strengthening the role of carers, the importance of working closely with your community, the clear requirements of practices to provide of translating services and why we should all offer prompt care for patients who may only be with registered for a short period. We look forward to continuing working with Healthwatch Croydon as we launch and share the guide across London, to ensure the patient voice is at the heart of general practice access improvements across London.” 

Gordon Kay, Healthwatch Croydon Manager, said:

“Our previous work has raised issues in Croydon concerning access to GP services and patient experience. When this opportunity came, we believed we could apply our knowledge, and our connections with residents, to explore these issues further and help improve services across London. We thank these residents for their time and openness to share not just the challenges but also consider solutions. This gave NHS England first-hand knowledge of the challenges patients were experiencing. We are glad the insight helped defined aspects of the guide. We are proud to contribute to a project that can help GP services not just in Croydon but across London’s 32 boroughs. We hope services will become better as a result.”

27.09.21