Shropshire Star

Every doctors' surgery in Telford and Wrekin to be assessed by watchdog group

A watchdog group will be visiting every doctor’s surgery in Telford and Wrekin and compiling an individual report on each practice.

Telford & Wrekin councillor Paul Watling (left) with Simon Fogell, chief executive officer at Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin. Picture: Telford & Wrekin Council

Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin is an independent group commissioned by the council to oversee the running of health services in the borough.

The group are asking patients to fill out their survey after becoming ‘very concerned’ that some Telford & Wrekin residents find it difficult to access their GP or contact their doctor’s surgery by telephone.

They will also be visiting each surgery in person to look at the accessibility of each practice.

This follows the GP Patient Survey 2023 which asked patients about their experiences of GP surgeries across Telford and Wrekin.

Wellington Medical Practice, Charlton Medical Practice and Donnington Medical Practice were all scored below 50 per cent in overall satisfaction rating.

Patients were also asked how easy it was to get through on the phone – which resulted in mixed results across the borough.

Court Street Medical Practice came out on top with a 80 per cent rating, while Charlton Medical Practice was bottom with a 5 per cent score.

“As a council on the side of our residents, we want them to have the best possible services at every GP in the borough,” said Paul Watling, Telford & Wrekin Council cabinet member for adult social care and health systems.

“We are very concerned that in some areas of the borough people still find it difficult to get through on the phone with a GP, to get an appointment at a preferred time or with the GP of their choice.

“Together with Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin we are running a joint survey to understand how easy it is for people in every area of the borough to access their GP and what their experience is.

“We are also supporting Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin to visit every single GP practice in the borough over the coming months.

“During these visits, Healthwatch Telford and Wrekin will look at each GP practice accessibility, by talking to the staff and to the residents registered with the GP.”

Councillor Watling says that the results of the survey and their findings will help the group compile an individual report on people’s experiences at each doctor’s.

“These reports will be made public for our residents and shared with the NHS boards, to drive improvements,” added councillor Watling.

“We know GPs are working very hard and that they are dealing with a high demand. We will continue to support them with our services to residents, to help reduce their pressures.

“At the same time, we can’t rest until issues with GP access are sorted and until all residents benefit from the best GP services possible, regardless of the area they live in.”

NHS Digital figures for July showed that patients were most likely to be seen the same days a complaint at Wellington Medical Practice, where 63% were seen within 24 hours.

However, at Court Street Medical Practice in Madeley just 27% were seen within a day of requesting an appointment.

Simon Fogell, chief executive officer at Healthwatch said that they continue to receive reports from people in Telford & Wrekin who are ‘not satisfied’

He added: “We want to hear directly from you about your own experiences of accessing your GP, the good, not so good or indifferent – they all matter.

“Your feedback is collected anonymously, this means you do not have to say who you are and you cannot be identified.

“We will use what people tell us, their truths, to share a report with Telford & Wrekin Council, the Integrated Care Board and Integrated Care System partners to show how you rate your GP service and what else people feel would improve services for them.”

The survey is available on the Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin website.