Healthwatch North Yorkshire reveal that improvements made to some GP websites could significantly benefit patients and the public in North Yorkshire.
The research indicates that more could to be done to improve access to online GP services across North Yorkshire – according to the volunteers who took part in the “health check” of GP websites across the county.
Healthwatch North Yorkshire have undertaken this work, to shine a light on a simple – yet important – area for improving patient experiences.
- Only 15% of GP websites passed less than four health check questions.
- Few GP websites had information about the national Vaccination Programme.
- Only a third of GP websites provided information on interpreter services.
- Only half of all GP websites made it easy to find out how to make appointments and complaints.
- Less than half of GP websites provided up-to-date information about their Patient Participation Group.
This report will be presented to key stakeholders in North Yorkshire, which includes the PPGs and the CCGs. It is expected that the findings we can share will help influence the design and delivery of the online future GP services in our county.
As a result of our report, Vale of York CCG have started to undertake their own audit to look at the clarity of information that is available on GP websites across York and North Yorkshire. They will use our feedback to find where there are gaps and create an expected ‘website standard’ across the Vale of York area, with the hope that GP practices will adopt this standard.
Vale of York CCG is particularly interested in how up to date the websites are with providing information about appointments, as well as access to translated materials and interpreters – areas highlighted in North Yorkshire GP Website Check-Up. Healthwatch North Yorkshire will be meeting with the CCG to assist with their review.
Bradford & Craven PCCC (Primary Care Commissioning Committee) endorsed our recommendations and appreciated the inclusion of diversity. They are currently taking under consideration the use of easy read facilities on websites.
North Yorkshire PCCC have told us that they found North Yorkshire GP Website Check-Up very informative and of particularly relevant in the current context. North Yorkshire PCCC are taking the report onto their agenda to consider initiatives for improving GP websites and online communications.
Bradford District and Craven (BDC) CCG will share the findings and recommendations of the report with all their GP practices for consideration, to ensure that their own websites are accessible and up to date. Many of BDC CCG’s GP practices are outside of North Yorkshire.
A number of the recommendations captured in the report are contractual requirements, for example PPG’s and complaints, and these will be captured within the BDC CCG’s Contract and Quality Assurance process.
Bradford District and Craven (BDC) CCG currently have an ongoing project underway which is reviewing all practice websites with the choice of migrating to a more standardised and fully compliant website. The main aims of the project are to ensure that the appropriate accessibility standards for GP practice websites across the region are met, are user friendly, accessible, consistent, and also support equitable access to information and services for people who have a disability, impairment or sensory loss, among other standards.