Have your say on GP appointment waiting times

editorial image

Patients in South Tyneside are being invited to take part in a survey of GP practices following complaints about lengthy waits for appointments.

Patient champion Healthwatch South Tyneside has been asked by the South Tyneside Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to undertake a study of access to healthcare services at doctors’ surgeries.

Healthwatch representatives will be interviewing practice managers at the borough’s 28 practices, asking a series of questions relating to patient access to GPs including the appointment systems they operate and average waiting times for patients.

Questionnaires will be displayed at surgeries for patients to complete.

The questionnaire is also available online on the Healthwatch South Tyneside website at www.healthwatchsouthtyneside.co.uk for the next three weeks.

Paul Cuskin, chairman of Healthwatch South Tyneside, said: “The public consultation into the planned relocation of Jarrow Walk-In Centre identified issues with access to GPs such as long waiting times for appointments.

“In response, the CCG has asked Healthwatch to undertake research into the patient experience at all GP practices in the borough, including how patients find the appointment system, whether they have difficulty getting to see their GP, and how they find reception staff.”

Healthwatch has also been asked to appraise services and facilities at pharmacies across the borough.

Healthwatch will report its findings on both GP practices and pharmacies to the CCG at the end of January.

Patients who would like a hard copy of the questionnaire to be posted out can contact Healthwatch South Tyneside by e-mail at info@healthwatchsouthtyneside.co.uk or by calling 428 6389.