A new set of standards, which will raise and improve the level of service for patients in Wales from their GP practices, have been launched today (20 March) by Health Minister Vaughan Gething.
The recent National Survey results showed a decline in satisfaction with GP services from 90% being satisfied in 2016-17 to 86% in 2017-18 and 42% of participants found it difficult to make an appointment at their practice an increase from 38% in the previous year.
People in Wales should know what to expect when they need advice on their health and wellbeing, when they need to consult a GP or other healthcare professional and what other options are available to them.
To support this, the new standards announced today are as follows:
- People receive a prompt response to their contact with a GP practice via telephone.
- Practices have the appropriate telephony systems in place to support the needs of people avoiding the need to call back multiple times and will check that they are handling calls in this way.
- People receive bilingual information on local and emergency services when contacting a practice.
- People are able to access information on how to get help and advice.
- People receive the right care at the right time in a joined up way which is based on their needs.
- People can use a range of options to contact their GP practice.
- People are able to email a practice to request a non-urgent consultation or a call back.
The Welsh Government expects all GP practices in Wales, supported by their Local Health Boards, to meet these standards by March 2021. Financial support, which will be announced in due course, will be made available to GP practices to strive towards meeting these standards and ensuring patients across Wales know what to expect from their practice.
Vaughan Gething said:
“I know GPs and their practice teams are under pressure to meet demand but I also know people’s expectations on GP access are not currently being met.
“Today’s announcement is not about putting additional pressure on our GP services, it is about them delivering a level of service patients in Wales should expect as a minimum. For many practices across Wales, the standards I’ve announced today will already be in place, but for others this will be a journey of improvement. Over time I would like to see these standards developed further so that services are continually improving for the citizens of Wales.”