Throughout the year people tell us about the challenges they face when accessing GP services. People face various difficulties from registering to appointments. Therefore, when SWB CCG consulted on whether to disperse the practice list or find another healthcare organisation to deliver the GP service, we decided to share the experiences we hear from service users in order to inform the decision made. The feedback we shared highlighted the issues that people face when registering with GPs and the challenges that needed to be addressed should the CCG decide to close the practice.
Our response also focused on the following:
- We sought clarity on the patient and public involvement activities carried out especially in developing the options that were being consulted on.
- We asked the CCG to demonstrate in their consultation report how well the selected PPI methods were at engaging and involving the public, especially hard to reach groups.
- We expressed concern at the lack of an impact assessment of the options under consultation and asked the CCC to consider the potential impact on the public of the proposals.
- We questioned whether the information provided in the consultation document was enough to enable the public to respond effectively.
As a result of our response, vulnerable service users of Five Ways Health Centre were safeguarded and supported to register with neighbouring practices. The CCG ensured that it made contact with neighbouring practices to ascertain their ability to register additional patients. Patients and the public will also experience improved engagement with the CCG as they committed to close the consultation loop by writing to all registered households of the practice to communicate the outcome. At Healthwatch Birmingham we believe that it is important that people are told how their views and experiences have informed decisions and how any negative impact of those decisions are being addressed.