Agenda item

GP Access & Out of Hours Provision


The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Communities, which detailed the Healthwatch report on GP Access and Out of Hours Provision.


The Board was advised that Healthwatch Halton was the consumer champion for health and social care in Halton. Its purpose was to understand the needs, experiences and concerns of people who use health and social care services and to ensure their voices are heard and responded to.


The Board was further advised that from the launch of Healthwatch in April 2013 one of the main issues raised by local people was the difficulties accessing local GP services. Having made a note of the findings from the local feedback and from national surveys it had been decided that a Healthwatch Task and Finish group should be set up to look at ‘Access to GP Services and Out of Hours GP Provision’ across Halton. 


A public survey had been launched by Healthwatch Halton at the end of March 2014 the end June 2014. In total 491 surveys had been completed with received responses covering all GP practices in Halton. A number of recommendations had been put forward in the report produced by the Healthwatch Halton Task & Finish group. The report attached as Appendix 1, had been sent to Halton CCG for a formal response to the recommendations, and the response was due in January 2015.


          Mr Paul Cooke, Mr Roy Page, Mr Dave Wilson and Ms Susan Ellison, Healthwatch attended the meeting and presented the report and the recommendations.


          It was reported that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) had endorse the recommendations and an action plan had been developed.  It was also reported that Healthwatch would be working with the CCG on this matter. In addition, The Healthwatch Halton “Have your voice heard today” leaflet was circulated at the meeting.  


The Board welcomed the report, supported the recommendations and thanked Healthwatch for the excellent work they had undertaken to date.


The following comments arose from the discussion:-


·             It was suggested that an information campaign be established to raise awareness of the numerous services that were available i.e. online repeat prescriptions and prescriptions that could be ordered to pick up at a local pharmacy;


·             It was suggested that GP practices could be tested on a regular basis by a scheme similar to the mystery shopper which would enable the practice to monitor the services they were delivering;


·             It was reported that the survey had highlighted the patients resistance to new ways of providing health services by GP’s and noted the challenges this presented;


·             The inconsistency of delivery in GP practices was noted in respect of customer care.  It was reported that GPs were working towards a consistent approach and a report on this would be presented to a future meeting of the Board;


·             Page 67 – Recommendation 6 – ensuring information on the new centres was made widely available across the Borough and in both local hospital A&E, Whiston and Warrington in time for their opening, it was suggested that a presentation could be undertaken at the Council’s Area Forum.  It was agreed that this be presented to the next Area Forum pre agenda’s for consideration;


·             The importance of good communication and understanding of systems of health care that were in place was noted;




(1)        the report and comments raised be noted; and


(2)        Mr P Cooke, Mr R Page, Mr D Wilson and Ms S Ellison be thanked for their informative verbal presentation.


Supporting documents: