HIW completed 33 inspections of General Practice (GP) from across Wales during 2014-15.
In these inspections we involved members of the local Community Health Council to interview patients and gather their views of the practice.
Overall we found that most patients were satisfied with the care and treatment they receive from their GP practice. Patients were generally happy with the opening times of their surgery. However, across Wales we found that access to appointments was an issue for patients. We also found that practices could engage better with patients about their appointment system.
We looked at the themes of communication, records management, and dealing with concerns and complaints.
Patient records were generally easy to understand, contemporaneous and recorded in sufficient detail to provide the patient with continuity of care if they were seen by a different clinician.
However, communication between hospitals and GPs when a patient is discharged from hospital was found to be inadequate and needs to be improved.
We also found that communication with patients could be improved. Most practices had not considered the language and communication needs of patients.
GP practices handled formal complaints in accordance with the national NHS arrangements known as ‘Putting Things Right’, but did not usually record informal or verbal complaints.
We looked at the practice environment and found the majority of practices we visited were well maintained and accessible to wheelchair users, but this could be improved with greater use of automatic doors.