Patients urged to share views about access to GP practices in Northumberland
Thursday 20 January 2022
Patients in Northumberland are being urged to have their say about access to GP practices, on the back of a period of significant change during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Improving access for patients and developing new methods of contact have been a key focus for some time, but the various pressures and requirements over the past two years have meant there has been a rapid increase in the use of telephone and video consultations, alongside a number of other changes.
NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), which is responsible for commissioning the county’s healthcare, recognises that these new methods have affected different people in different ways and that there are different needs for different individuals.
Therefore, the CCG is launching a process of engagement with patients in Northumberland to better understand their views, which will help inform any future changes to accessing GP services in the county.
Dr Robin Hudson, a GP in Northumberland and the CCG’s medical director, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has required staff in General Practice to adapt quickly by introducing a range of different options to ensure that we can continue to provide the safest possible care to our patients.
“This, of course, has meant that patients have also had to adapt to these changes, some of which have been required while others have been introduced to cope with increasing demand. We recognise too that our patients have different needs and requirements, which is why we are really keen to get as many views as possible on accessing GP services.
“Patients need to be able to access the right person, providing the right care, in the right place and at the right time, so please do respond to the survey to ensure we have an accurate picture of what the needs of Northumberland residents are.
“I would also like to reassure patients that GPs and all of the other crucial staff in our practices remain here for you and your family. We are making increased use of online and telephone consultations, but face-to-face appointments are available for those who need them. Last year, GP practices in Northumberland carried out more than 1.8 million appointments and almost 1.1 million of those were face-to-face.”
The survey seeks to understand patients’ views on issues such as which healthcare professional they would prefer to see, how quickly they want to be seen and whether weekend and evening appointments are useful, and how far they are willing to travel or would a telephone or online consultation be preferable.
It is available online here – www.northumberlandccg.nhs.uk/share-your-views-about-accessing-gp-practices and is running until Friday, February 25. Paper copies are also available by contacting 01670 335 157 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The survey will take around 10 minutes to complete. As a thank-you, those sharing their views will be given the option to be entered into a prize draw where you could win a £100, £50 or £25 High Street voucher.
The engagement process will also include face-to-face surveys taking place across the county and a number of focus groups to ensure that as wide a range of views as possible can be obtained, ensuring that future changes meet the needs of patients from all of Northumberland’s communities.