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Access to appointments with doctors in Cornwall –have your say

PEOPLE are finding appointments with doctors in Cornwall increasingly difficult to access according to the latest feedback given to Healthwatch Cornwall from patients.

In response, the health and social care watchdog has launched a survey to learn more about how easy or difficult people across the county find securing a slot to see a doctor at their surgery.

Research manager at Healthwatch Cornwall Natalie Swann said: “We want to build a fuller picture of how this issue is impacting on patients so that people’s experiences can be taken into account in the planning of new or alternative options.

“We are aware that, for various reasons, there is a shortage of general practice doctors (GPs) nationally and locally.

“This means services may need to be provided in other ways to ensure they meet people’s needs and offer the best possible patient experience, within the allocated budget.

“We have worked in conjunction with local health services commissioner NHS Kernow to devise this survey so that they can be fully informed and make best use of the learning from it.”

People have told Healthwatch Cornwall that issues such as surgery closure or increase in local population due to new housing have impacted on their ability to quickly and easily access an appointment.

Andrew Abbott, director of Primary Care and West Localities at NHS Kernow, said: “Listening to the experiences people have when trying to see a doctor is a vital part of our future planning; we want to provide the best options we can.

“By supporting Healthwatch Cornwall and encouraging everyone to have their say via the survey, we can incorporate public opinion more easily within our future commissioning.”

Visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/accessdoctor2017 to take part or call 0800 0381 281 if you require an alternative format.

The survey is aimed at people who live in Cornwall, even if not currently registered with a doctor, and runs from Wednesday, December 13 to Friday, January 19, 2018. Participants can choose to enter a prize draw too.

To provide feedback on any publicly-funded health and social care services in Cornwall, you can also visit healthwatchcornwall.co.uk/have-your-say/ or call 0800 0381 281.

 

ENDS

Currently, general practice represents one of the most common areas people talk to us about, and a significant proportion of this feedback relates to the increasing difficulty in getting an appointment with a doctor. Experiences vary across GP practices in Cornwall.

The National GP Patient Survey data from July 2017 shows general practice services in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly are consistently regarded by patients as better than the England average.

However, there is a shortage of general practice doctors nationally and locally – demand is increasing whilst the number of doctors is not. This means services may need to be provided in other ways to ensure they meet the public’s needs and offer the best possible patient experience, within the allocated budget and resources.