Primary Care and the local GP is the front door to health and is the opportunity for early intervention and prevention, so it’s essential that we assess and understand people’s experiences to help address any potential barriers that could lead to someone not interacting with a primary care service, which could address a preventable illness.
The pandemic has put a considerable strain on all health services and local people have been particularly impacted by the changes at their local GP surgery. This is because Primary Care changed quickly during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic due to social distancing. The familiar way of accessing services was suspended and new urgent changes were introduced with many services and contact points migrating online instead.
Over the last few months, we have received a number of calls from people having difficulty accessing their GP surgery and also being able to register with a practice in their area. Based on what we’ve been hearing, we decided we needed to find out why this was becoming an issue and decided to carry out some research.
North Central London Integrated Care Provider (ICP) for Enfield also asked us to provide some context for patient experience in primary care to support the Access to Services Recovery and Innovation workstream. This is so that they can review how services are being provided ‘post’ pandemic, as the challenges in healthcare delivery continue.
In response we designed a survey to explore four main areas and thanks to our wonderful volunteers, we were able to collect data on:
Which GP practices were registering new patients
Whether community languages were spoken at the surgery
What information was needed to register
Whether the information was available on their website
* Primary care is the day-to-day healthcare given by a health care provider and is typically the first contact for any patient.