Seeing the same GP at every visit will reduce emergency department attendance

July 24, 2014
Seeing the same GP at every visit will reduce emergency department attendance
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici. Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Attendances at emergency departments can be reduced by enabling patients to see the same GP every time they visit their doctor's surgery, a new study shows. This is just one of several recommendations made in a report published today by researchers at the Universities of Manchester, Bristol, UCL and Oxford.

Called 'Primary care factors and unscheduled secondary care: a series of systematic reviews', the report looked at evidence from studies around the world. They found that patients who saw the same GP every time they attended their GP surgery were less likely to require emergency care.

The research, published in the open access journal BMJ Open, shows other factors that also affect admission and attendances at emergency departments are: how easy it is for patients to access GP surgeries and primary care providers; the distance the patients live away from the emergency department; and the number of confusing options patients had for accessing emergency care.

Dr Alyson Huntley, Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and lead author of the report, said: "A recent report by the King's Fund suggested that admissions among people with long-term conditions that could have been managed in primary care cost the NHS £1.42 billion per year. This could be reduced by up to 18 per cent through investment in primary and community-based services. "Our work has shown that providing continuity of care and making it easier for patients to get access to their GP can help achieve this reduction in unplanned admissions and emergency department attendance."

Dr Kath Checkland, from the Centre for Primary Care at The University of Manchester who took part in the research, said: "The report recommends that, for patients in high-risk group, there should be a targeted increase in continuity of care with GPs. These include older patients, those from poorer backgrounds and those suffering from multiple conditions."

Dr Sarah Purdy, from the University of Bristol who led the research, added: "GP Practices serving the most deprived populations have emergency admission rates that are around 60 per cent higher than those serving the least deprived populations. Our research has highlighted key issues that commissioners of primary care in the UK can tackle in order to bring down unscheduled secondary care use."

The report is based on research funded by the National Institute for Health Research School for Primary Care Research (NIHR SPCR). It is the most comprehensive review of its kind in which the researchers analysed 44 different studies from developed countries around the world in order to identify which features of affect unscheduled secondary care use.

Professor Jonathan Benger, National Clinical Director for Urgent Care for NHS England, said: "There is a well-recognised need to improve urgent care in England. This report will help to inform both commissioners and providers of care regarding the relationship between general practice, accident and attendance and emergency hospital admission. The report's findings are reflected in the changes proposed by the ongoing review of urgent and , led by NHS England's Medical Director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh."

Explore further: More accident and emergency visits where access to GPs is worse

More information: "Which features of primary care affect unscheduled secondary care use? A systematic review." Alyson Huntley, Daniel Lasserson, Lesley Wye, Richard Morris, Kath Checkland, Helen England, Chris Salisbury, Sarah Purdy. BMJ Open 2014;4:5 e004746 DOI: 10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004746

Related Stories

More accident and emergency visits where access to GPs is worse

June 12, 2013
Patients with more timely access to GP appointments make fewer visits to accident and emergency departments, suggests a study published today.

Co-located GP clinics can ease the load in ERs

March 6, 2013
(Medical Xpress)—The addition of a GP clinic at hospitals should reduce waiting times in emergency departments, according to new research.

Medicaid beneficiaries use emergency services due to lack of alternatives

December 30, 2013
A study from the University of Colorado School of Medicine shows patients with Medicaid insurance seeking care in an emergency department may be driven by lack of alternatives instead of the severity of their illness. The ...

Most unscheduled hospital admissions now come through the ER

June 20, 2013
More than three-quarters (81.8 percent) of unscheduled admissions to the hospital now come through the emergency department, which is a sharp increase from the previous decade when only 64.5 percent of unscheduled admissions ...

Allowing patient access to chosen GP would reduce costs for the NHS

April 19, 2012
A University of Leicester study has provided clear evidence that allowing a patient to see a particular doctor in the GP surgery has an important impact on reducing hospital admissions.

Improved GP access in standard hours may trump extended opening times

May 21, 2014
Improving family doctor access during standard working hours might be better for reducing out of hours service use than extending the opening times of GP surgeries, suggests research published online in Emergency Medicine ...

Recommended for you

Study finds 275,000 calls to poison control centers for dietary supplement exposures from 2000 through 2012

July 24, 2017
U.S. Poison Control Centers receive a call every 24 minutes, on average, regarding dietary supplement exposures, according to a new study from the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center, ...

Alcohol to claim 63,000 lives over next five years, experts warn

July 24, 2017
Alcohol consumption will cause 63,000 deaths in England over the next five years – the equivalent of 35 deaths a day – according to a new report from the University of Sheffield Alcohol Research Group.

App lets patients work alone or with others to prevent, monitor, and reverse chronic disease

July 24, 2017
Lack of patient adherence to treatment plans is a lingering, costly problem in the United States. But MIT Media Lab spinout Twine Health is proving that regular interventions from a patient's community of supporters can greatly ...

Alcohol boosts recall of earlier learning

July 24, 2017
Drinking alcohol improves memory for information learned before the drinking episode began, new research suggests.

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Why sugary drinks and protein-rich meals don't go well together

July 20, 2017
Having a sugar-sweetened drink with a high-protein meal may negatively affect energy balance, alter food preferences and cause the body to store more fat, according to a study published in the open access journal BMC Nutrition.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.