Page last updated: 8 February, 2021, 10:43am
Making services accessible to all
GP access cards – encouraging patient registration
We are aware that some people experience barriers when trying to register with a GP. Despite national restrictions put in place as a response to the coronavirus pandemic, it is still important to encourage GP registration within our communities, to ensure that everyone receives care and is prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccine.
GP access cards are being distributed by local Healthwatch and voluntary organisations to vulnerable communities who are less likely to be registered with a GP. The card, similar in look to a credit card, is accompanied by a welcome to GP letter from Dr Raj Patel and will provide details of how to register.
On the back of the card is the NHS England Customer Contact Centre number, for people to use if they have been refused registration. Practices should not be turning people away who try to register without proof of ID/ address or immigration status. Everyone is welcome in general practice.
To support patients with their GP registration and to encourage people to register, we are asking practices to:
- work together with your local voluntary sector
- support your receptionists to complete bitesize training on the Pathway website
- review websites to include a statement that you can register without ID/address/immigration status
- offer an initial health assessment for new registrants to identify vulnerability to COVID and code as CEV. If homeless use the housing status codes.
More information, including a communications toolkit for practice staff is available to download.
Remote interpreting for deaf patients
NOTE: The Royal Association for Deaf People can support deaf patients to continue to access their appointments and surgery triage via video call – all the surgery needs is a telephone and the deaf patient the facility to accept video call (e.g. skype, zoom, face time etc).
For more information please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 0300 688 2626
Translation and Interpretation Services
The Big Word offer translation and interpretation services. The service is commissioned by NHS England. Please call 0333 3449473 to access the service.
Speak to your local CCG primary care lead for the access code relevant to your area.
There is also the Doctors of the World website, an online resource that has a repository of COVID-19 advice for patients in 60 different languages, produced in partnership with the British Red Cross.
Healthwatch recently published the findings of some rapid research conducted in partnership with Traverse, National Voices, and PPL.
Involving people who have had a virtual consultation during the pandemic, this report provides useful insights for NHS services and individual clinicians. More information can be found on the Healthwatch website.
Video explaining how to contact your GP remotely
Supporting patients with specific access needs
- Online consultation software used to allow for type based or interpreter led communication (in additional to video consultation) with patients and/or their carer
- Microsoft Teams is also available for use by NHSmail accounts and can be used for 3-way video calls between clinicians, interpreters and patients
- Communicating with people with hearing loss
- Access to British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters: BSL Health Access delivers immediate, on demand access to British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters for communication with Deaf people
- Support and guidance for homeless patients