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The report, titled Research findings from service users and service providers – building a better GP and primary care service, contains the results of a primary care survey conducted at the behest of the HSE between November 2016 and March 2017.
Combined feedback from over 6,000 people was received during the course of the survey. It aimed, through a series of consultations and engagements, to discover what matters most to those who use and provide GP care and to find out what they would most like to see developed in the future.
“It has been highlighted by them [GPs] and other healthcare specialists, including private insurers that current resourcing issues are negatively impacting on the sustainability of current service and opportunities for improvement,” the report outlines.
“It will be essential for contract negotiations to factor in maintenance of the current levels and quality of service to avoid any negative impact on patients, whilst also addressing the current shortfalls in the system.”
Overall current patient satisfaction levels with GP services are high for quality of service received, access to services and value for money, the report found.
Both service users and service providers outlined concerns regarding the maintenance of current access levels.
Flexibility of appointment length (and reflective payments), and increased service provision at a primary care level to ensure continuity of care and avoid referral into secondary care were also noted by patients and GPs as being important.
GPs reported that current resourcing issues needed to be addressed as part of contract negotiations including STC payments, grants/allowances and capitation payments.
The report highlights that GPs believe current access levels are putting “unsustainable pressure on the primary health care system as is, therefore resource reallocation needed”.
A fragmented approach regarding referrals, communication and administration in healthcare is increasing burdens on healthcare professionals and driving inefficiencies.
The area requires a joined up approach and investment in IT infrastructures at a national level to support a single system. GPs advised that learning should be taken from successful local/pilot schemes.
Engagements were conducted by Coyne Research and included one-to-one qualitative interviews, a nationally representative telephone survey, a variety of focus groups with stakeholders, and a public consultation survey.