Ensuring everyone can access services on an equal footing is a key priority for the NHS. One of the seven core requirements for implementing improved access, as set out in the NHS Operational Planning and Contracting Guidance 2017-19, is to address issues of inequalities in patients’ experience of accessing general practice, identified by local evidence, and put actions in place to resolve this.
To support commissioners and providers of general practice services to address this, NHS England has produced a practical resource – Improving Access for all: reducing inequalities in access to general practice services – which aims to promote understanding of groups in the community who are experiencing barriers in accessing services and help to address those barriers as improvements in access to general practice services are implemented.
The resource is intended to provide:
- a guide in assessing local issues, supporting local equality analyses and providing examples of how barriers arise at different points on patient pathway journey, starting at the point where the patient identifies a health problem through to getting appointments and the experience of attending general practice services;
- practical tips on a wide range of issues related to protected characteristics and other groups who experience barriers to healthcare, for example through homelessness;
- quick links to video clips, learning materials for practice staff, case studies, examples of good practice and a wealth of information on NHS England’s website.