Sheffield patients frustrated with long waits for GP and hospital appointments

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Patients say they are waiting too long to see a GP, appointments aren't flexible enough and there's too long a wait for hospital procedures.

Healthwatch Sheffield heard from 350 people about their concerns with health and social care services and one of the biggest responses was about GPs and hospitals.

Healthwatch's report says: "We heard from a lot of people about issues with GP practices. The main things we heard were long waiting times for appointments and a lack of flexibility when booking appointments.

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"People wanted more evening or weekend slots, and options for home visits where needed.

A stethoscope in a practice room. Picture: PAA stethoscope in a practice room. Picture: PA
A stethoscope in a practice room. Picture: PA

"People told us that appointments were too short and felt rushed and they also had to tell the story every time.

"We were told that doctors sometimes did not have enough background information on patients, so patients had to give the same information more than once.

"Outside the appointment room people described poor attitudes of reception staff, inaccessible patient calling systems and poor conditions in waiting areas."

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There were some positive experiences in hospitals - one person praised the Northern General Hospital for “good service, kind and supportive doctors, nurses and receptionists”.

But there were also negative experiences with long waits between hospital procedures, resulting in delayed diagnosis, and hours spent in A&E.

Some people said they found it hard to get to hospital by public transport while the lack of parking also caused problems.

One person said: "You can’t get parked, you arrive an hour before your appointment and still can’t find a space. People often give up and go home."

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Healthwatch added: "We learned there were issues with how services such as GPs, hospitals and pharmacies are working together and that patient information is not being passed on between services.

"In addition, we heard that people’s care needs were not being met while in hospital and that appropriate care is not put in place after hospital discharge."

Healthwatch launched its survey in early 2020 and the responses will help shape its work over the next 18 months. The report outlines issues before coronavirus hit. The full survey can be read here

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