A STUDY is being launched to look at the impact GP surgery closures and changes to patient transport services have had on people in Brighton and Hove.

The second Brighton Citizens’ Health Services Survey will be carried out by a team of University of Brighton academics headed by lecturer Carl Walker.

It will be focusing on how the loss of four GP practices in the city by the end of this year and the closure of two others last year has affected patients.

The effect of the disruption caused by the problems that have dogged the county-wide patient transport service since it was taken over by private firm Coperforma in April will also be looked at.

Dr Walker said: “This six-monthly public consultation aims to engage people from Brighton and Hove in some of the broader questions about local healthcare commissioning like funding cuts and privatisation of local NHS services.

“In particular these surveys are designed to inform current and upcoming local tendering processes.

“The results are analysed and made public to let the Clinical Commissioning Group and Brighton and Hove City Council Council know of any disparities between their commissioning decisions and what the people of Brighton and Hove value and want.”

Brighton and Hove Healthwatch has also been looking at GP services in the city and has recently published the results of a survey of patients at GP practices in the city.

It found that although they were satisfied with the care and treatment they received overall, there were concerns about waiting to get non-emergency appointments.

About a quarter of those asked said they had waited longer than a week to be fitted in, which is well above the national average of 17 per cent.

The study also found awareness of preventative health checks offered by GP practices was low, with a large number of practices visited by the watchdog not having the information about them readily available.

The take-up of NHS health checks in the city is four per cent, which is well below the national target of 20 per cent.

The Healthwatch report concluded: “Practices should review appointment booking systems and make them as user-friendly as possible.

“Practices should work to reduce the number of non-emergency appointments that involve a week or more wait for the patient and online booking should be promoted and made easier, especially for younger people.”

For details of the survey, visit https://brighton.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/brighton-citizens-health-services-survey-no-2.