How easy is to see a GP?

June 22, 2022

We’re working with the NHS on important changes to the ways people get appointments and treatment at GP practices, following our latest report.

Examining the experiences of over 2,000 people in Birmingham, we found evidence of numerous problems for patients trying to access local GP services. Our investigation also revealed that more deprived areas have poorer access to primary care services, and that people from ethnic minority groups and those with long-term conditions encounter more barriers to care. 

Read the full report

Common issues people reported include:

  • Problems booking appointments on the telephone or online
  • Difficulties getting face-to-face appointments
  • Long waiting times for consultations and treatments

Healthwatch Birmingham recognises that primary care has been under immense pressure throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased that NHS organisations have made improving access to GP services a top priority in the new Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care System (BSol ICS), and have committed to working with Healthwatch Birmingham to address many of the problems people have told us about.

These actions include:

  • Extended access to GP practices
  • Improved telephone systems and websites
  • Better communication of changes to primary care with patients

“It is key to the long term sustainability of general practice that we get this right, and that the views of the patient are at the core of what we take from the learning garnered from this innovative work. This is why we are committed to continue this work in partnership with Healthwatch to support improvements in access and patient understanding and engagement.”

Dr. Clara Day

Designate Chief Medical Officer, NHS Birmingham and Solihull Integrated Care Board 

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