Primary and urgent care survey - getting urgent appointments with a GP

Looking at urgent appointments, from a list of options, people prioritised seeing their own GP in a nearby practices, followed by being called back by a nurse or GP, dropping in and waiting for a GP.

The least acceptable options were seeing a different GP in a nearby practice and having trained reception staff asking questions about the patient's condition so they can direct them to the most appropriate support – however two thirds still thought this was acceptable to some extent.

We wanted to assess how people would feel about seeing other professionals in an urgent situation as an alternative to seeing a GP.

Over two thirds found it acceptable or ideal to see an advanced nurse practitioner, followed by half being happy to see either a paramedic or physician’s associate. The level of training of these members of staff was key.

Respondents made a range of suggestions for improvements in primary care which included:

  • more investment in the health service and recruiting more GPs and staff,
  • other ways to communicate and keep in touch,
  • bringing out of hours contracts back into GP surgeries,
  • improvements in appointment systems,
  • having more local clinics,
  • having more specialist services available in GP surgeries.

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