How we Improved Access to GP Services in Richmond

This month we have another guest blog and this one is by Anna D’Agostino from Healthwatch Richmond…

Healthwatch Richmond is an organisation that allows residents to play a key role in the health and social care that they receive in their borough. For example, Richmond residents recently told us about their frustration at not getting a GP appointment at a suitable time. Some people were unhappy about the telephone booking system and we received feedback such as:

you need to call at a certain time to book an appointment

automated telephone systems are also difficult for hard-of-hearing people


Doctors Waiting Room

Other residents voiced their dissatisfaction and concern with areas such as the length of time they had to wait to see their named GP as well as the following:

receptionists are not very polite or helpful

appointments are too short

We talked to over 1,000 patients and professionals in the borough to discuss what makes good care. Most importantly, we trained volunteers to visit almost half of Richmond’s GP practices to talk to patients about their experience.

What did Healthwatch Richmond do to help resolve issues with GP practices? What powers do we have to make services run better?

A report was produced for each GP practice that was visited, making recommendations for change. Each practice responded to us within 20 days on how they are going to improve their service. Healthwatch Richmond has the power to ask for improvements in NHS and social care services. To do that, we talk to people like you to find out what you think about services such as GPs, hospitals, dentists and more.

The more people that talk to us, the easier it is to ask for change, and it’s anonymous! We don’t take your name, just your experience. We can talk to you in private, in a group or you can fill in a questionnaire. We also want to talk to people who can’t speak English very well and find it difficult to use services. Do they know about the NHS? Where do they look for help when they are unwell? Are they happy with the are they receive? How can we make services better for them?

Every single experience counts and we are completely independent from the NHS and the Council.

Call Healthwatch Richmond on 020 8099 5335

In the meantime, if you want to talk to us or know someone who struggles with their English but needs help, please call Anna D’Agostino at Healthwatch Richmond on 020 8099 5335 or email her at or visit our website Healthwatch Richmond ran a discussion with members of the MEEG group on Thursday 14th July and Monday 15th August.

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