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Barriers to accessing GP and pharmacy services during the pandemic

124 people (23%) said they had been unable to access GP or pharmacy services during the pandemic for different reasons including limited appointments, opening times being inaccessible for working people and being unable to get through to book an appointment.

People reported other barriers including:

  • unable to access urgent screening tests
  • sent to emergency department, wanted to see a GP
  • poor response to e-consult request
  • mental health condition worsened by pandemic
  • difficulty accessing Livi
  • moved house, could not register
  • queues
  • availability of medication

266 people told us about individuals, groups or communities that they felt may be disadvantaged by the current changes to GP and pharmacy services, including people:

  • with communication difficulties, hearing loss or limited English, or those that use visual cues or gestures
  • that struggle with or don’t have technology
  • without access to transport
  • with mental health conditions
  • with learning difficulties
  • that are vulnerable or live alone
  • with long term conditions
  • who do not read or find it difficult to communicate in writing
  • that use walking aids or wheelchairs
  • that are partially sighted or blind

As well as:

  • elderly people
  • cancer and heart condition patients
  • carers of people with dementia
  • shielding patients
  • very ill people
  • children
  • full time workers and self-employed workers
  • autistic people
  • victims of domestic violence
  • pregnant ladies

Additionally people thanked specific surgeries and pharmacies for their support during the pandemic.

It was suggested that there was a need to better protect GPs and staff across primary care and not simply divert more work and commitments to them in a bid to ease secondary care.

Having access to a GP people know was described as important often in people’s responses.

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