Like many GP Practices across the country, maintaining the desired level of access to General Practice for patients has become increasingly difficult, particularly in light of increased pressures across the whole health system.
Foundry patients have expressed their concerns about access to the surgery in a number of ways: through direct feedback and on social media, via the national patient survey and in complaints sent into the Practice. In response to this, Foundry has established an Access Improvement Programme lead by one of our Partners, to better understand barriers to access and come up with a plan to address and improve our patients’ experience.
Patients were given the opportunity, as part of our Patient Survey: Extended Access to GP Services, to register to be involved in a programme to improve access and over 700 patients responded offering their time and input, for which we are incredibly grateful.
We initiated 4 meetings over January and February 2023 and invited a cross section of approx. 20 patients to meet with Partners, Managers and Reception Leaders to discuss, in confidence, their experience of accessing the surgery, both what works well and what needs to be improved. These meetings were held in Ringmer and Lewes, at various times across the day and evening to accommodate working people/parents etc.
The intention of these meetings was to listen to the experience of patients and to ensure the priority areas of focus for improving access was shaped by patients themselves rather than what the people who work in the Practice feel to be most important.
This document sums up the key themes that emerged from these incredibly valuable, insightful and honest sessions. Again, we are indebted to the time these patients gave up on what was often cold wet winter afternoons and evenings to improve our understanding and improve access.
On the positive side we also received a great deal of feedback on what people found to be good about the care Foundry provides. Here is an example of those areas that featured regularly:
Once you do get through and get an appointment the care is really good;
> The staff are caring and very kind;
> E-consult and the ability to send and request input on-line is great;
> Pharmacy team is really helpful and turnaround quickly. Really appreciate that it’s a separate number;
> Praise for the multi-disciplinary team approach – First Contact Practitioners, Mental Health Workers etc are wonderful;
> The care co-ordination of more complex patients has made a huge difference to individuals;
> People really valued the opportunity to be involved in this programme and wanted this type of involvement to continue;
> Digital Ambassadors are great and have really helped engage people in accessing on-line and other digital offers such as Florence (the home blood pressure reading service).
In response to these themes, Foundry will now develop a workplan setting out how we will take these areas forward in order to make real and sustainable improvements in access. Wherever possible we will set a metric to measure where we are now and where we aim to be following our improvement journey. We will upload this report and our action plan here on our website when it is finalised.
Engaging with patients in this way and co-designing improvements to the Foundry will now be the blueprint for how we work in the future. If you would like to contribute to any future programmes you can do so by registering to join our growing group of patient collaborators here