Primary and urgent care survey - urgent care use

Half of the sample (2,948 people) had an urgent health care need in the past year either for themselves or someone they care for.

Table 14: Use of urgent care in the past year

N=5,967 Number Per cent
No 3,019 50
Yes, for myself 1,988 33
Yes, for a child I care for 405 7
Yes for an adult I care for 789 13
No details [18] 67 1
Total number (less those using services both for self and as carer) 2,948 50

Some people had needed help for both themselves and a child (92) or for themselves and an adult they were caring for (172), or adult and child (37).

Higher proportions of people with physical disabilities, mental health problems and long term conditions had used services than the general population. A higher proportion of older people (65+) had used urgent care services for themselves than the younger age group (under 65).

Table 15: Use of urgent care service by type

Which of the services did you use? [19] Number Per cent
GP surgery during opening hours 1,692 58
A&E Worthing Hospital and A&E St Richards [20] 1,331 42
NHS 111 890 31
Out of hours doctors 507 18
Pharmacy 443 15
MIU Bognor Hospital 177 6
MIAMI Clinic 65 2
Sussex Mental Healthline 62 2
MIU at Park Surgery in Littlehampton [21] 58 2

People could select more than one option – and this could reflect more than one option for one incident, or in fact more than one incident in a year. Over half had used the GP surgery during opening hours, and adding the two hospitals together, it shows that 42% had attended A&E – representing an attendance of over 22% of the whole survey sample. [22] A third had called 111. A small proportion (15%) had gone to the pharmacist and a similar number had gone to out of hours doctors.

Table 16: Urgent Care users – reasons for choice of service

Reason for choice of service  
Best place for this particular problem 989
Was recommended by a health professional e.g. GP or 111 628
Did not choose - was taken by ambulance 540
Nearest place to home or work 518
Quicker than GP appointment 345
Did not know where else to go 330
Thought it would be the shortest wait 267
More confidence in advice there than own GP 111
Wanted a second opinion 103
Recommended by friends, family or colleagues 59

We asked people why they had chosen the most recent service that they used. [23] Excluding those taken by ambulance or recommended by health professionals Figure 11 below shows that most people are choosing it as they think it is the best place, followed by the nearest.

It is interesting to note that over 500 chose the service through a perceived gap in primary care – either that they think quicker to get an appointment, wanting to a second opinion or don’t have confidence in their GP. [24]

Figure 11: Users of urgent service: reason for choice – self referral