In June we published a report called ‘Accessing Remote Appointments in Bucks’.

Whilst many people have been able to adjust to having their doctor’s appointments by telephone or online, there are some who have difficulties with these types of appointments. As a result of this, we wanted to hear from these people.

We wrote to Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) asking them for a response to our recommendations.

Some of the recommendations we made are below:

  • encourage general practice staff to follow the core principles laid out in ‘Good Communication with Patients’ (for example practice learning time)
  • doctors and practices should not use withheld numbers when contacting patients
  • to introduce a ‘safe word’ or password with patients to ensure that they know that a call from their practice is genuine
  • doctors and practices should ask the patient if they feel that they are in a safe and private environment and that they are comfortable with using the technology in use

Lastly, we would like to say thank you for responding to our recommendations.

Response from CCG

Published on 23 Jul, 2021 (updated 12 Aug, 2021)

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6 comments on "Accessing Remote Appointments in Bucks: Responses"

  • Commenter said on 31st July 2021

    I don’t have Internet at home, nor do I have a smartphone, so how can I do all this “on line” business. I’m a pensioner and cannot afford all this technology. I feel as if we are not Important enough for a good quality of healthcare.

  • Commenter said on 1st September 2021

    Where have all the GP’s gone? Doctors were among the first to be double-jabbed, ahead of teachers in the queue precisely so they could resume seeing patients in the flesh. The stethoscope has been replaced by the headset – to the despair of patients with ailments that are hard to diagnose over the phone or via a laptop.

  • Commenter said on 28th September 2021

    For nearly 75 years, the face to face consultation has been the basis of our first-rate National Health Service. If we let that slip away, we will see primary care become a second-class system.

  • Commenter said on 6th October 2021

    The scandalous shift away from face to face appointments has contributed to the shocking news that six in ten patients with ‘red flag’ cancer symptoms are not being referred to a specialist by their GP.

    • Healthwatch Bucks replied on 19th January 2022

      The above comment refers to this study published by UCL. The study does not link the “shift away from face to face appointments” to the lack of referrals. In fact, the results are presented as a wider issue that pre-dates the pandemic.

      The research team analysed records from nearly 49,000 patients who consulted their GP with one of the warning signs for cancer that should warrant referral under clinical guidelines. They found that six out of ten patients were not referred for cancer investigation within two weeks of the first visit.

      The warning signs for cancer included blood in urine, a breast lump, problems swallowing, iron-deficiency anaemia, and postmenopausal or rectal bleeding. If you have any of these symptoms, the guidelines say you should receive a two week referral for further investigation.

  • Commenter said on 20th October 2021

    As far as I can see the crisis will never be solved now. As long as those in power imagine that medical care is something that can be done at a distance.
    The public has lost faith in general practice.

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