Primary and urgent care survey - users of urgent service: reason for choice

Future 11: users of urgent service: reason for choice – self referral

It appears that once people have attended or received help from the urgent care services they are reasonably confident that they had made the right choice, are satisfied with the treatment they have received, with 91% saying they would use that service again.

We are particularly interested in the reasons for attending A&E, especially as a recent audit suggests that approximately a quarter of attendance at A&E could be treated in primary care.

Over half of the people attending A&E were either recommended by a health professional or were taken by ambulance.

For those who chose independently, the main reason was that they thought it was the best place for the problem.

After that, a proportion went due to locality/convenience or not knowing where to go.

However, a small proportion did attend as they thought it would be quicker than a GP appointment, or because they didn’t have confidence in their GP, implying that they could have been treated in primary care.

The most important priority for people choosing urgent care services is the confidence that staff can treat the condition appropriately with nearly 80% ranking it in the top three and 41% saying it is the most important.

Knowing it is open, how close it is to home and the shortest waiting time were equal after that with nearly half ranking them in the top three.  Ease of access by car or public transport and having used it before were not prioritised highly.

Three quarters of the sample felt they did have enough information to make a decision about where to go to for urgent health care. One quarter were either unsure or said no. This is reinforced by some people saying that they went to the service as they ‘didn’t know where else to go’  and that over 200 people said they would like more information about services.

A smaller proportion of people from a White Other background (61%) and those with sensory impairment felt they had enough information to know where to go.

There were over 200 comments about needing more information about services and many of these were about urgent care services.

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