The process of setting up the successful Vanguard Project (an NHS improvement programme) in Dudley has highlighted that there is a fundamental question to answer about what people want and value about ‘access’ in relation to primary health care services.
Dudley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has evidence from the GP ‘friends and family test’ indicating that the majority of patients would recommend their surgery. Results from the GP Patient Survey for Dudley CCG area are also in the same ballpark as for England as a whole. However, previous research has highlighted that satisfaction levels are higher for those at smaller practices than large and there are some common areas of concern amongst patients. The CCG, therefore, commissioned Community Research to conduct some qualitative research to explore what is working in terms of current access to primary care services and what the public finds frustrating. In particular, they wished to explore what is driving the perceived higher levels of patient satisfaction with smaller GP practices, to inform the future of primary care services in Dudley.
Two extended group discussions with Dudley residents were conducted to ensure a mix of lifestyles and backgrounds. Half of the participants at each group were registered at a large practice and half at a small practice. One group was conducted with participants with one or more long term conditions and one group with participants without a long term condition.
In addition to the Community Research moderator, a graphic facilitator, Vanessa Randle of thinkingvisually, was commissioned to attend the groups and produce a graphic summary of the participant feedback.
Graphic recording refers to the process of listening, synthesizing information and then presenting it using a combination of words, simple graphics and colour; usually in the form of a big picture. Vanessa worked at the group sessions to create a visual record that was a summary of the process and participant feedback. She worked quickly to link different conversation threads together and used these to give a pattern and shape to the graphic that she was producing. This meant that, at the end of the session, participants were able to review the graphic and see if their collective ideas were captured.
Dudley CCG has used the graphic, alongside Community Research’s written report, to help disseminate the research findings. The use of graphics within sessions of this kind is something that we would recommend as a great way of capturing and presenting information in an engaging and compelling way. It really does help bring ideas and information to life.