We spoke to 175 people at 11 events held in North Somerset between May and September this year – which included digital drop-ins at a health centre and IT hub, talking at meetings and attending community coffee mornings.
We see this as the beginning of an ongoing project across the region and are delighted that Harbourside Family Practice in Portishead has asked us to help them with running some more digital awareness events in the autumn. It was a learning curve for Healthwatch to both equip ourselves with the latest digital know-how and spread the word on these events – so the public were encouraged to come along.
Our team gave a presentation (links to this below) about how we helped get people online at the Healthwatch#2019 Conference – and asked for their views on how to improve our project in the future.
Healthwatch will be putting together a report on our findings which will be made public shortly.
There are multiple digital services that can be used, but public knowledge of them is building very slowly and help to get started with them rarely available. We suggest more support should be offered.
When people get support to use digital services the response was generally very positive.
Many people don't know that you can now book appointments online at all GP websites.
AskMyGP is now used by a growing number of surgeries in Weston. Tudor Lodge surgery has created a very comprehensive guide on how to create an account which can be accessed on the following link Click here
NHS England launched their Long Term Plan in January 2019 pledging that everyone who wants one, will be able to have a digital GP appointment, saying "We will ensure these technologies work for everyone, from the most digitally literate to the most technology averse, and reflect the needs of people trying to stay healthy as well as those with complex conditions."
As part of the new GP contract, practices must make at least 25% of their appointments available for online booking by July 2019. This contract said digital access to GP services should increase for all patients, with the hope that this will help practices manage workloads and provide care more effectively.