The various pressures and requirements over the past two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic has led to reports across the country that it is very difficult to book a face-to-face appointment.
In this time, there has also been a rapid increase in the use of telephone and video consultations, alongside a number of other changes.
NHS Northumberland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is now launching a process of engagement with patients to better understand their views, which will help inform any future changes to accessing GP services in the county.
The survey asks patients about issues such as which healthcare professional they would prefer to see, how quickly they want to be seen, whether weekend and evening appointments are useful and how far they are willing to travel, or would a telephone or online consultation be preferable.
Dr Robin Hudson, a GP in Ponteland and the CCG’s medical director, said: "Patients have had to adapt to these changes, some of which have been required while others have been introduced to cope with increasing demand.
“We recognise too that our patients have different needs and requirements, which is why we are really keen to get as many views as possible on accessing GP services.
“Patients need to be able to access the right person, providing the right care, in the right place and at the right time, so please do respond to the survey to ensure we have an accurate picture of what the needs of Northumberland residents are.
“I would also like to reassure patients that GPs and all of the other crucial staff in our practices remain here for you and your family. We are making increased use of online and telephone consultations, but face-to-face appointments are available for those who need them.
“Last year, GP practices in Northumberland carried out more than 1.8million appointments and almost 1.1million of those were face-to-face.”
The survey is available online at https://survey.alchemer.eu/s3/90419559/Access and is running until Friday, February 25. Paper copies are also available by calling 01670 335157 or emailing [email protected]
It will take around 10 minutes to complete. As a thank-you, those sharing their views will be given the option to be entered into a prize draw.