Forty-eight hour access to primary care: practice factors predicting patients' perceptions
Campbell, J.L., Ramsay, J., Green, J. and Harvey, K. (2005) Forty-eight hour access to primary care: practice factors predicting patients' perceptions. Family Practice, 22 (3). pp. 266-268. ISSN 0263-2136
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To link to this article DOI: 10.1093/fampra/cmi006
Background: The government has proposed a 48-hour target for GP availability. Although many practices are moving towards delivering that goal, recent national patient surveys have reported a deterioration in patients' reports of doctor availability. What practice factors contribute to patients' perceptions of doctor availability? Method: A cross sectional patient survey (11 000 patients from 54 inner London practices, 7247 (66%) respondents) using the General Practice Assessment Survey. We asked patients how soon they could be seen in their practice following non-urgent consultation requests and related their aggregated responses to the characteristics of their practice. Results: Three factors relating to practice administration and appointments systems operation independently predicted patients' reports of doctor availability. These were the proportion of patients asked to attend the surgery and wait to be seen, the proportion of patients seen using an emergency surgery arrangement, and the extent of practice computerization. Conclusion: Some practices may have difficulty in meeting the target for GP availability. Meeting the target will involve careful review of practice administrative procedures.