Can patients with a clinical need access emergency General Practice appointments in Birmingham? is based on feedback provided to the Healthwatch Birmingham feedback centre, comments gathered by engagement, as well as follow up conversations with GPs. Overall people felt they should be seen more easily when describing their condition as urgent.
- We heard via our Feedback Centre that Birmingham residents were having problems in getting an emergency appointment with their GP.
- We gathered further relevant experiences from 66 patients via our community engagement
volunteers and an online survey.
- Most of the actual cases that we heard about should, in the views of 72 GPs we talked to, have had either an emergency appointment or a referral to A&E.
- This means that some patients are not getting access to an emergency GP appointment when GPs consider it to be an emergency.
- Our findings clearly indicate that there is unfairness in the system for getting an emergency GP appointment across Birmingham, with a wide variation in the management of requests for such appointments.
- GPs told us about some of the barriers to providing emergency appointments, which included high demand from patients and shortages of GPs. However, some practices highlighted that they have effective mitigations in place to handle such issues.