PRESS RELEASE (19.7.21) Healthwatch insight highlights pressures on GPs and A&E

Healthwatch in Sussex is today issuing a press release together with a report that shares its insight on the pressures being faced by local health services across the county
A man crossing his arms, standing face on outside a hospital
“Research undertaken by Healthwatch shows that limited capacity in some services is having a knock-on effect on others. We found that some people who are experiencing delays in obtaining GP appointments are going to A&E instead. We have also identified limited public awareness of the alternatives to A&E such as Pharmacies and NHS111 First, even though these services may be able to provide appropriate support depending on people’s needs. Our evidence suggests an ongoing preference amongst some for face-to-face rather than remote appointments which is why some people may choose to attend Emergency Departments. We have also found that information provided to the public about which services they should seek medical support from and when, can be inconsistent and challenging to access or understand.”
— Healthwatch in Sussex

Our report draws together findings from 20 publications and data sources and highlights increased demands on GP practices and Emergency Departments (A&E) in recent months.

Read our report

Key findings

  • People experiencing delays in obtaining GP appointments going to A&E instead.
  • There is low public awareness of alternatives to A&E, such as Pharmacies and NHS111 First.  
  • Public information about which services they should seek medical support from can be inconsistent and challenging to access or understand.
  • Sussex NHS Commissioners are proposing changes to GP appointment systems, and better promotion of alternative services.

What next?

Healthwatch has made seven recommendations that respond to these issues. These relate to improved access for patients, clearer information on which services people can access and when, and ensuring consistency of signposting across the health and care system. These changes can help ensure that patients are able to access the support they need as quickly and simply as possible.

Our report has also been shared with the Sussex Integrated Care System (ICS) and members of the pan-Sussex System Pressures Task and Finish Group.

Healthwatch in Sussex (Brighton & Hove, East Sussex and West Sussex) will work with Commissioners to co-design messages which GP practices can use on their websites and on phone messages.

We will also continue to work in partnership with them and individual providers to monitor the experiences of patients and the public in accessing health and care services locally and explore how ongoing development may be delivered. 

Press queries

If you have any questions in relation to this initiative, or wish to leave your feedback on health or care services that you have used, then please get in touch with your local Healthwatch using the details below:

Healthwatch Brighton & Hove

David Liley
Telephone:  07931755343

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