This isn’t about your phone screensaver, but rather the GP Screens in your practice. Our Chief Executive, Thalia, decided to look into what you could see when you’re in your GP’s waiting room.

We know that some of the material for these screens is provided by the Clinical Commissioning Group and some reflects local input. Thalia just wanted to have a look at what was up there:

The other day, I thought I would go and see what was on the GP Screen at a Bucks surgery. So, I had allowed 30 minutes to have a look. I started watching at 08:06 and had to leave at 08.39 and after 33 minutes of watching had not yet got back to the beginning. The slides were moving past at a rate of about 4 a minute, so based on this I saw 132 slides.

These covered subjects as varied as fostering; a local war memorial trust; stop smoking support, looking after your belongings, the PPG ; good neighbours; chlamydia; an acupuncture service; advice to drink water, speak up – safeguarding; and lots of information about the local practice…. and many more. All of them were interesting and important.

In light of this I wondered whether practices had had the opportunity to think through:

  • How long are people likely to spend looking at your screen? (If it is comfortably visible in a waiting room then this could be 10 to 20 minutes, whereas in this case because of the configuration of the surgery – the screen was not visible from any available seat – and people were only likely to look at it whilst queuing for reception.)
  • Which are the messages you most want people to see? (The more slides you have the less likely it is that people are going to see the most important ones)
  • If you take messages off the screen is there somewhere else people are as likely to find them? (your website or a noticeboard)
  • If you put material on the screen – can people actually read in? (for a few of the slides I saw the print was too small to be read)

At Healthwatch Bucks we are keen to support clear and effective communications so that people can understand and access the services they need. The GP screen can play a useful part in this – but is it worth practices reviewing what they have on their screens to make sure it is working as hard as it can for their patients? Perhaps PPGs can help. We know we saw just one example – and sadly we don’t have the resource to do a full county review of GP screens – but we hope these questions will be useful for some.

How do you find the waiting rooms at your GP? Let us know by finding your service and leaving a review from our home page.

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