Healthwatch Enfield has been inundated by concerns from local residents about GP services. In order to investigate many of the issues raised we conducted an audit of 49 GP practices in the borough; using our team of volunteers to check websites, answerphone messages, and relevant links on the NHS Choices website.
We were specifically interested in the following information:
The practice out-of-hours telephone message - whether the telephone number offers information on how to access out-of-hours care
The practice listing on NHS Choices - when the listing was last updated, if the practice is currently accepting new patients, if there are registered GPs at the practice and if the practice website is listed.
The practice website - if the website states information on how to access out-of-hours care, information on how to make a complaint, information about the practice Patient Participation Group (PPG), information on booking interpreters and the availability of online appointments and an online repeat prescription service.
The audit found that 96% (47 out of 49 practices) had correct out-of-hours information on their answerphone message and only one failed to include any message.
Only 31 out of 49 practices have their own website. It will be mandatory for GP practices to offer on-line appointments and prescription renewals from April next year and this could mean that 37% of practices who don't yet have a website will not be able to meet this deadline.
Of those with a website 94% (29 out of 31) included information about how to complain and 90% (28 out of 31) had information about their Patient Participation Group.
Only 5 out of the practices with a website included information on interpreting services that were easy enough for our auditors to locate and one website has notified of their website address.
A draft copy of the audit was sent to every practice in advance of the Conference and five of the practices have already corrected out-of-date or incorrect information.
The full report can viewed or downloaded as a PDF document below.
Healthwatch Enfield GP Audit September 2014 [PDF]