During December 2020 and January 2021, a group of Healthwatch volunteers went online and visited all 14 local GP practice websites. As well as looking at the accessibility of the websites, their aim was to look for information that a patient might need without having to call or visit the practice.

By Healthwatch Halton
General Reports Primary Care
Our new review of GP practice websites highlights a need for improved accessibility standards

We found that the majority of practice websites did not meet the requirements set out in the NHS Accessible Information Standard.

The NHS has been increasing the level of digital involvement in services for a number of years and the COVID-19 pandemic has quickened the pace of change, moving services and functions online due to the restrictions on face-to-face meetings.

Whilst this has proved beneficial for some, many vulnerable residents have found it difficult to adapt to the new changes, especially when they are expected to use websites to access healthcare services which do not have the required functions or support to allow them to do so.  

Report recommendations include:

  • GP websites to be reviewed regularly to ensure the information provided to patients is relevant and up to date.
  • GP practices to adopt the CQC guidance on registering homeless patients and include this information within their websites.
  • Provide clear, visible and concise information to make it easy for patients to understand how to raise their concerns, leave feedback and support them in making a complaint should they need to.

GP Websites review report Download File (pdf 6.84 MB)

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