The General Practice Forward View (GPFV) published in April 2016 set out plans to enable clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to commission and fund additional capacity across England to ensure that, by 2020 everyone has improved access to GP services including sufficient routine appointments at evenings and weekends to meet locally determined demand, alongside effective access to out of hours and urgent care services.
Shropshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), Telford & Wrekin CCG and the Shropshire Patient Group held a large event on 8th March 2018 at the Shrewsbury Town Football Club and extended an invitation to the Telford & Wrekin Patients First Group. The event was very well attended by patients, carers, GPs and CCG staff.
Presentations were given by Nicky Wilde Shropshire CCG and Darren Francis Telford & Wrekin CCG on the background to the GPFV and GP Extended Access. Attendees were then given the opportunity to have table discussions on the presentation and offer feedback Attendees were then asked to help develop the first draft of a survey that would be made available to all patients during April/May 2018. A survey for patients, carers and the general public to complete was developed. This was sent out to all GP practices together with a poster, in addition information was sent to our local radio station and local newspaper and social media was used to encourage people to have their say on future access to GP appointments.
Telford and Wrekin Telford Patients First Group invited Rebecca Thornley, Head of Primary Care to attend their open meeting on 2nd May 2018. She spoke about the GP Extended Access which should be implemented from October 2018 and did say that the Government had set a very difficult challenge for the CCG to meet. Access for patients will be what patients need not necessarily what the Government stipulate. The Group were able to have a lively discussion and feedback on their own views and issues. It was decided to meet with the Group again, once the GP Extended Access Scheme had been implemented and a period of settlement had passed.
Following the implementation of the local GP Extended Hours Scheme the CCG held a focus group in February 2019 for members of the Telford Patients First Group to attend to feedback on how the implementation of the scheme went and how access to appointments are currently.