Screen Shot 2015-07-20 at 09.00.47The people of Newcastle are getting a unique chance to shape the way that appointments are made for GP consultations.

Healthwatch Newcastle, the independent champion for users of social care and health services have developed a major survey to discover people’s preferences when booking and attending a GP appointment.

Part of Healthwatch Newcastle’s work involves dealing with comments about GP appointments and this survey promises to give a comprehensive picture of the preferences of those surveyed.

The survey looks at a range of options available such as having a specific appointment time but not necessarily being able to see the doctor of your choice as opposed to seeing your own doctor but possibly having to wait longer to see them.

The survey of around 800 volunteers will take place all across Newcastle using tried and tested research methodology and the results will be collated by Newcastle University using state of the art collation equipment.

Chief Executive of Healthwatch Newcastle, Steph Edusei said that the survey would be available online, on the streets of the city or conducted in community centres and libraries.

“This survey will enable us to build up a picture of what is acceptable to patients in Newcastle when they are booking appointments to see a GP. Everyone has different needs depending on their general health, their age and if they work long hours and find it difficult to get into a GP’s surgery.”

The results of the survey will be presented as a model for good practice and it is hoped that the findings will be implemented throughout the UK.

To carry out the surveys, Steph is looking for volunteers and is hoping that marketing or research students will take time out during the summer to help the cause.

“This is all about making GP services better for the people who use them and that includes almost everyone.

“Our staff and volunteers will be taking people through a structured survey whilst running a Healthwatch Newcastle stall at an event or in a GP practice waiting room. The results of this survey will tell us more about people’s preferences when booking and attending GP appointments. It’s a worthwhile survey and a chance to change the way things are done for the better.”

Anyone wanting to know more about volunteering to be a researcher can contact Rachel at Healthwatch Newcastle on 0191 338 5723 or rachel@healthwatchnewcastle.org.uk