Researchers at the University of Bristol’s Centre for Academic Primary Care reviewed the international evidence about how GPs might help reduce attendances at emergency departments. They have discovered that seeing the same GP each time patients visit their doctor’s surgery appears to be one effective measure. Several other evidence-based recommendations are presented in their report.
“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”.
Huntley, A. Wye, L. [and] England, H. [et al] (2014). Primary care factors and unscheduled secondary care: a series of systematic reviews. Bristol: University of Bristol Centre for Academic Primary Care / National Institute for Health Research (NIHR), July 2014.
Emergency admissions among people with long-term conditions, which could often be managed in primary care, cost the NHS £1.42 billion annually according to a King’s Fund data briefing. This figure might be reduced by up to 18% through investment in primary and community-based services.
There is a related open-access article:
Huntley, A. Lasserson, D. Wye, L. [et al]. Which features of primary care affect unscheduled secondary care use? A systematic review. BMJ Open. May 23rd 2014. , Vol.4(5), pp.e004746. (Click here to view the PubMed abstract).