GP appointments are still a ‘huge challenge’
ARRANGING and accessing GP appointments remains a “huge challenge” for patients at a time of increased demand, inspectors have concluded.
Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) visited 27 GP surgeries in 2016-17 and spoke to patients across the country to analyse the standard and quality of care.
One of their main concerns was the availability of timely appointments for patients. In a bid to ensure appointments were being allocated appropriately, inspectors said many practices operated a triage or signposting system to other suitable NHS services.
But patients said they were “mostly not happy” with this and questioned whether triage starting at the point of receptionist staff was clinically appropriate.
Patients said they valued the care they received from their GP practice.
Practices were found to have systems in place to try and ensure continuity of care when patients were being seen by different members of staff.
“We consistently saw that practice staff treated patients in a polite, caring and friendly manner,” the report states.
But inspectors said they were “disappointed” that many concerns raised in 2015-16 were replicated in this year’s report.