Measuring potential inequalities surrounding the shift to remote GP appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In order to support patients during the Covid-19 pandemic GP services have changed the way they deliver appointments, using telephone and digital methods i.e. via video rather than face to face.

Healthwatch BwD are undertaking a project exploring potential inequalities surrounding this shift to remote GP appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic. Health and social care services have had to adapt to new ways of working very quickly and we want to speak to people and professionals who have found it more challenging to access remote care.

In May 2020, NHS England reported that before COVID-19, roughly 95% of GP appointments were carried out face-to-face. During the pandemic, it is estimated that as many as 85% of consultations have been carried out remotely.

Healthwatch BwD will be working with GP Surgeries across Blackburn with Darwen to find out how this new method of delivery has impacted patients. Particularly over 65s, BAME residents and adults with learning disabilities. Our work will focus on these three target groups who we know to be least engaged with digital support.