Optimising Population Access to General Practice in Tameside and Glossop through Community-Based Participatory Research
Access to general practice is an important topic for the National Health Service (NHS). Over time, policies about access to general practice have focused on speedy access. Politicians focus on speedy access, and solutions like extending opening hours, in hopes of preventing visits to Accident and Emergency (A&E). That thinking represents a narrow view of access. It also assumes a straightforward relationship between access to general practice and use of other services in the NHS. Alternatively, access to healthcare can be thought of more broadly as the interaction or overall fit between the healthcare system and the population’s ability to obtain services. The same access problems do not exist everywhere.
Local factors, including resources and population characteristics, affect access. General practitioners (GPs) and commissioners of care need to be able to understand their own local access problems before solutions can be developed and tried. Therefore, a method is needed to better understand local access to general practice for a population. This study aims to understand access to general practice in Tameside and Glossop.
Both the project team and the research participants will include patients, community representatives, GPs, GP surgery staff, and commissioners. We will seek different perspectives from different types of people who may have different experiences. We will combine interviews, focus groups, and observation in surgeries to gain a rich understanding of the situation around access to general practice. This work may identify issues around access to general practice that need improvement.
The project team will work to map and prioritise those issues. We then hope to design interventions to address the issues identified. If possible, we will implement interventions. We will continue to gather data to understand the process of implementing those interventions.