Is your GP's website difficult to use? Healthwatch Somerset wants to know

By Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter

12th May 2022 | Local News

Judith Goodchild - Chair of the Healthwatch Somerset Board
Judith Goodchild - Chair of the Healthwatch Somerset Board

Is your local GP's website difficult to use? Do you get frustrated trying to book appointments or order prescriptions? Then Healthwatch Somerset would like to hear from you.

Healthwatch Somerset, which campaigns for better health services on behalf of ordinary patients, is conducting a survey on how to improve doctors' surgeries' websites to make them easier to use.

Patients can have their say on what works and what doesn't via an online survey or at a number of roadshow dates before May 22.

The group – which has recently called for radical changes to Somerset's dental services – will then present the findings to the Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) later in the year.

Healthwatch Somerset manager Gill Keniston-Goble said: "The use of digital technology is rapidly becoming the main way to find information about your health and well-being from your GP surgery, but not everyone can use digital methods and some people choose not to.

"We want to understand more about the impact of digitalisation – the benefits and the barriers this can create.

"The NHS England national GP patient survey 2021 shows that 58 per cent of those who completed the survey in Somerset did not use GP online services to book appointments, order repeat prescriptions, access their medical records, or for consultations or appointments.

"50 per cent said they had not tried to use their GP's website to look for information or to access to services.

"By going out and talking to people in communities across Somerset and gathering feedback via our survey and focus groups, we hope to hear from a diverse mix of people with varying health, care, communication and access needs.

"We will then identify where change is needed and make sure that NHS and care leaders listen to public feedback to improve access to care for everyone."

To take part in the survey, visit www.healthwatchsomerset.co.uk/project/digital-access or call 0800 999 1286 before May 22.

Alternatively, patients can speak to officials in person on one of the remaining stops on Healthwatch Somerset roadshow, which has been working its way across community venues throughout the county since Monday (May 9).

The remaining stops on the roadshow's tour are as follows:

Friday, May 13, 11am-4pm: Wellington Medical Centre, Mantle Street, Wellington

Saturday, May 14, 9am-1pm: Dobbies Garden Centre, Mendip Avenue, Shepton Mallet

Sunday, May 15, 9am-1pm: Hillier Garden Centre, A371 Draycott Road, Cheddar

Monday, May 16, 11am-4pm: Chard Minor Injuries Hospital, A30 Crewkerne Road, Chard

Tuesday, May 17, 11am-4pm: Asda supermarket, Preston Road, Yeovil

Wednesday, May 18, 11am-4pm: The Balsam Centre, Balsam Park, Wincanton

Thursday May 19, 9am-1pm: Street Market, High Street, Street

Friday, May 20, 11am-4pm:  Boyle Cross, B3090 Market Place, Frome

Saturday, May 21, 9am-1pm: Brunel Shopping Centre, Cox's Yard, Somerton

Healthwatch Somerset chair Judith Goodchild said: "Our roadshow is a wonderful opportunity to be able to engage with people and find out what they really feel about the health and social care services in Somerset.

"Your views are really important and will be used to help commissioners when developing future services."

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