HEALTH AND CARE: Ensuring services are available to everyone

The majority of responses were from the older age group

The majority of responses were from the older age group

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This is the final article in our primary and urgent care survey series.

Over the past few weeks we have shared with you our findings on what people think and want from their GPs, community services and urgent care.

One of the really exciting things about having so many people take the time to answer our questions is that we can explore how different people experience our services, and make sure that we are meeting the needs of all our population.

We listened to the views of people with disabilities, long-term health conditions, older and younger people, those with mental health problems, those who were hearing and visually impaired and people from different ethnic backgrounds.

Understandably we discovered that people with long-term conditions visited their GP more often than others, and if people had an urgent healthcare need they were more likely to want to see their usual GP.

People with long-term conditions of working age are the least happy with the existing appointment times, and were more interested in evenings and weekend appointments.

People with physical impairments were also likely to want to see the same GP, and less likely to be happy to visit other local practices.

One of the issues that stood out was that people with sensory impairment felt they didn’t have sufficient information about what to do if they needed to get urgent care.

There were several comments from people with hearing problems that were particularly around being able to email practices, and not having to use the telephone.

Once comment said: “One thing to consider is that both myself and my partner are profoundly deaf sign language users and unable to use the telephone except through a relay service, which is not always ideal.”

Over 250 people with mental health problems took part in the survey.

Someone who has mental health problems is more likely to visit their GP more often than the general public, and like those with long-term conditions, said they would like to see the same GP, and were least likely to want to talk to a receptionist about their issue, or to have a telephone call from a GP.

The majority of the responses to the survey were from the older age group, and we did not target people under the age of 18.

Fewer younger people visited their GP, but they were happy to travel further, see a different GP, and would like to use extended hours.

More young people were interested in video conferencing and other digital technology and were confident that they had enough information about urgent care.

Looking particularly at the other end of the spectrum, we had 1,200 responses from the over-75 age group.

Fewer in this age group were happy in using digital technology, travelling to other practices, and to use extended opening times.

The majority of the respondents were from a ‘White British’ background, with the second biggest minority group being from a ‘White Other’ background, which includes people from Europe, Russia, the Americas and Australia.

More of this group were younger, and were enthusiastic about video access/Skype and texting a GP – 16 per cent thought that this was ideal.

A worryingly higher proportion felt they lacked information about where to go with an urgent care problem.

Although the numbers are small, a higher proportion of people from an Asian background were proportionately more interested in emailing their GP.

This information is really useful for us to understand how we can ensure our services are available to all our community.

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