We've helped ensure more equitable access to weekend and evening GP appointments
GP Hubs have been established to make it possible for patients to see a doctor in Islington between 8am and 8pm, seven days a week. The service, which was originally offered out of three GP centres (or hubs) across the borough, now runs out of 5. You can find out more about the service here. Healthwatch Islington was approached by the provider to gather people's views about the service when it was being piloted towards the end of 2015. We returned the following year to repeat the exercise.
What did we find?
We found that a disproportionately large number of patients using the service were from the GP centres where the hubs were based. In other words, the 33 GP practices that did not serve as hubs were less likely to refer their patients to the service.
What happened as a result?
As well as sharing our findings with the provider of the service, we also shared them with Islington Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). As a result the CCG have insisted that, regardless of who provides the service in the future, they will need demonstrate that:
- they are taking action to ensure that non-referring GP practices do indeed refer their patients to the service
- they are taking effective measures to monitor equity of access on an ongoing basis
Healthwatch also made sure that adequate access to interpreting services, and appropriate support for patients with learning disabilities were included in the service specification.