The team engaged with more than 400 local people who talked to them about their experience of getting appointments at their GP practice. They used that information to encourage GP practices to increase phone and online consultation options, improve referral and repeat prescription processes, and develop access to patient friendly health information. This led to direct improvements in access to services for Tower Hamlets residents.
Chris Banks, Chief Executive, Tower Hamlets GP Care Group (representing the 36 Practices in Tower Hamlets) said: "Healthwatch is well organised in its approach to the task of information gathering and producing highly informative reports. Their reports are balanced and give praise where it is due while ensuring that the areas of poor patient experiences are clearly set out with practical recommendations on how to improve them. We feel they are a true critical friend who are supporting us to provide better services to our citizens."
Jenny Cooke, Deputy Director for Primary and Urgent Care, Tower Hamlets Clinical Commissioning Group said: "Healthwatch patient experience data has been an incredibly valuable tool in helping practices understand how they can improve and where they need to focus their energy. The regularly updated and centralised repository of patient feedback has been used to help practices improve their processes and the CCG commission and deliver broader strategic programmes. I feel confident that this has led to a direct improvement in GP access for the residents of Tower Hamlets."
Dianne Barham Chief Executive of Healthwatch Tower Hamlets said: "Changes to GP Practices in Tower Hamlets do not happen now unless the patient voice has been heard. This means that scarce resources are being used to support improvements that are proven to benefit patients."
Their achievement was part of a record breaking 170 entries from more than 100 local Healthwatch teams submitted this year. These were then whittled down to 35 shortlisted entries across seven categories.
The winners were chosen by members the Healthwatch England national committee, with the awards presented by high profile speakers including Chief Executive of NHS England, Simon Stevens, and Chair of the Parliamentary Health and Social Care Committee, Sarah Wollaston.
Follow the link to read Healthwatch Tower Hamlets reports: