Commissioner calls on older people to share experiences of GP services in Wales
The Older People’s Commissioner is inviting older people to contact her office to share their experiences of GP services in Wales.
Changes to the way GP services are delivered in Wales have accelerated significantly since the pandemic, and the Commissioner is concerned that older people are at risk of being left behind and excluded.
Older people are encouraged to share their experiences in a range of areas, such as making appointments, whether surgeries understand patients’ needs, if appropriate support if provided, and whether people feel listened to and respected.
The Commissioner also wants to hear about wider issues such as the availability of services like translation and access to surgeries via public transport.
Organisations and local partners will work with the Commissioner to reach out to older people throughout Wales with a questionnaire to enable people to make their voices heard.
Details of people’s positive experiences are also welcome along with the things older people find helpful when visiting their GP.
People can also share their experiences via the phone, online or by writing to the Commissioner’s office.
Older People’s Commissioner for Wales, Heléna Herklots CBE, said:“GP services play a crucial role in supporting our health and well-being, particularly as we get older, and are often the gateway to other essential health services. That’s why it’s so important that older people can access GP services, and that the services themselves meet everyone’s needs.
“Older people throughout Wales often share issues and concerns about GP services with me, and since the pandemic new barriers seem to have emerged, such as the shift to doing far more online.
“That’s why I am inviting older people to get in touch with my office to share their experiences, so I can learn more about the kinds of issues and challenges people are facing and identify where action is needed. I’m also keen to hear about what’s working well, so this good practice that makes a positive difference can be adopted more widely.
“I want to ensure that older people’s voices are heard and are used to shape policy and practice throughout Wales.”
The Commissioner will examine her findings throughout the autumn, and publish a report in the new year, highlighting what older people have shared with her and setting out recommendations to help ensure GP practices in Wales are accessible to older people.
In addition, the Commissioner will be publishing an information guide to help older people better understand what they should expect from GP services, with a particular focus on people’s rights in terms of issues such as accessibility.
The Commissioner added: “Alongside my report and recommendations for action, which are due to be published in the New Year, I also want to ensure that older people understand their rights when accessing GP services, so individuals feel empowered to challenge poor practice or raise concerns.
“That’s why I’m developing a helpful guide which will be distributed to older people throughout Wales to provide the information they need, and details of where to get help and support if they’re struggling to access the GP services they need.”
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