Shropshire Star

Damning assessment as patients have their say on doctor's appointments in Telford

Patients have given a damning assessment of their experiences making doctor’s appointments in Telford.

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Wellington Medical Practice received a 'very poor' rating in the survey. Picture: Google

Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin has published an interim report into its GP access to services survey.

The health watchdog launched the study after the NHS England annual GP Patient Survey 2023 revealed problems accessing doctors in the borough.

“This survey highlighted that some patients within Telford and Wrekin are still finding it difficult to get through to the surgery on the phone, to get an appointment at a preferred time and with their GP of choice,” said the watchdog in its report.

“Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin and the council acknowledge that demand for primary care services has increased and capacity to meet this demand is a struggle but it is important for the Integrated Care Board (ICB) to acknowledge and address patient experience and variation in patient experience between practices.

“Unlike the GP Annual Satisfaction Survey that only gets sent to a sample of patients from each GP surgery, the Healthwatch survey enables every person in Telford and Wrekin to have their voice heard.”

The watchdog has been working with Telford & Wrekin Council to promote its own GP access survey, which has been completed by over 5,395 people.

The interim report which will be considered by the council’s health board next week found: “Initial results do show that at many practices people do find their experience in making their last appointment to be poor or very poor. Overall, just over a quarter collectively said it as good or very good, though two thirds of people rate it as very poor or poor.

“When people do get to see a GP their overall confidence is positive and okay, with a smaller number saying it is not so.”

People were asked to identify their surgery and an early question asked people to rate their overall experience making their last appointment.

A total of 2,477 respondents (45.9%) rated their experience as ‘very poor’ with a further 845 (15.7%) stating their experience was ‘fairly poor’.

In comparison 964 (17.9%) people said their experience was ‘very good’ and 612 (11.3%) found it ‘fairly good’. A total of 471 (8.7%) people said it was ‘neither good nor poor’.

Individual surgeries which received ‘very poor’ ratings from over 50% of their patients included: Wellington (72.2%); Teldoc Hadley (62%); Donnington Medical Practice (60.6%); Charlton Medical Practice (58.7%); Stirchley (50.7%); Teldoc Lawley (58.6%); Teldoc Leegomery (57.5%); Teldoc Madeley (56.9%); Teldoc Malinslee (52.4%); Teldoc Oakengates (51%).

Several people commented that when they got through to their doctor’s surgery they were told that there were no same day appointments remaining and to ring back at 8am the next day.

Some respondents complained of waiting 45 minutes to be told that there was no available appointments that day and to ring back the following day.

In comparison those doctor’s surgeries who were found to have over 50% of respondents rating them ‘very good’ were: Shawbirch (70.7%); Court Street (58%); Hollinswood Medical Centre – Priorslee site (57.1%); Liden Hall (52.3%).

Positive comments from patients were from those who find they can ‘normally get an appointment’ or were seen the same day that they requested an appointment.

The independent watchdog has ‘highlighted’ to Telford & Wrekin Integrated Place Partnership (TWIPP) and ICB managers that its survey has a bigger number of respondents than the national survey.

The Healthwatch Telford & Wrekin survey closes on December 13.

Once the survey is closed the independent body plans to compile a final report for the Telford & Wrekin Council’s health and wellbeing board and the ICB.

The council’s health and wellbeing board is then planning to request the ICB to attend and present ‘how it will respond to the voice of the people of Telford and Wrekin and meet their respective needs for access to GP services within the TWIPP’.