Examining the experiences of over 2,000 people in Birmingham, this report found evidence of numerous problems for patients trying to access local GP services. It also shows 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.
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