- Meeting of Health and Adult Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Wednesday 28 July 2021 10.00 am (Item 8.)
Jo Turl (Director of Commissioning, NHS Devon CCG) and Dr Alex Degan (Primary Medical Director for the Integrated System, NHS Devon CCG) were present for this item. It was highlighted that:
· significant work had been undertaken by GPs in response to the pandemic and vaccination programme and want to recognise and thank GPs for their support;
· conscious that some patients struggling to access GP services and that the Emergency Department was struggling but want to highlight the data and evidence they have on access to general practice and recognise that face to face appointments had reduced during the pandemic;
· face to face appointment had started to slowly increase and were above the national average;
· the National Patient Survey run by IPSOS Mori showed that the overall patient experience was very positive in Devon given the situation that GPs have been in for the last 18 months;
· for Plymouth patients the overall experience was very positive with a majority of people saying good or fairly good but there were individual practices not as high as others;
· access by the phone data used alongside the user experience was reviewed on a monthly basis and work with practices and review actions plans to make improvements where needed;
· all practices have to undertake a lot of work behind the scenes to keep patients and staff safe via guidance from NHS England;
· demand has been huge and dealing with 18 months of medical problems;
· most GPs work on 10 to 15 minute appointments and it was not safe to deal with several problems in one appointment;
· backlog of planned care and investigations;
· there was a shortage of GPs and there was a need to think differently about how to provide care such as clinical pharmacists to undertake medication reviews for patients;
· provide support to GPs at the start and end of their careers, such as mentors for newly qualified GPs.
Questions from Members related to:
· seeking clarification on the 60% of appointments face to face? Were they in the surgery or on eConsult?
· the public have the perception that they cannot see a GP and the survey says differently. Do we have any idea on how many patients fail to get through to their GP practice?
· what support would be given to patients when we return back to normal to help them understand the new practices?
· the elderly cannot deal with the modern ways;
· when was the National Survey conducted?
· whether the virtual panel was representative and huge flaws within this report with Plymouth having much bigger issues with specific practices within Plymouth. People cannot access their GP practice and this report does not reflect on this situation;
· people with cognitive and sensory access issues we need to ensure this was well designed for this population that is accessible to everyone and to ensure there wasn’t a digital divide;
· experiences with eConsult and NHS111 has been negative. Used eConsult and on completion of the form told to phone the GP, then phone the GP put the phone down after being on hold for over 30 minutes;
· more thought to be given to people with disabilities and how they access services;
· face to face appointment were required for some people to explain their medical conditions and there was a need to get the balance right. How the CCG works with GPs to get that balance right and eConsult needs drastic changing to ensure accessibility was the same for all patients across the city.
The Committee noted the GP Access report and requested the Improvement Plan and update from Healthwatch on their findings on the Emergency Department.