Addressing Urgent Care in Primary Care

We can work with Commissioning Boards, Clinical Commissioning Groups and practices to help them achieve appropriate urgent care. The majority of work we do has a direct link to urgent care and can be found under the GP Appointment Systems section.

Salford Health Matters (along with other Doctor First practices) have started to see a reduction in the number of patients attending A&E
during surgery hours and in particular for non emergency care. They recently appeared of BBC News North West talking about how
they have improved access to GPs and made a positive impact for patients, clinicians and on A&E attendances.


What is the difference between urgent care and routine care?

If your system allows patients to be seen when they want or need to be, you will, by definition, provide appropriate urgent care. The concept of 'urgent' then ceases to be an issue.

Urgent care is not just about having enough people to be able to answer the telephone in a timely manner, the person on the end of the telephone must be able to understand what the patient needs are and to discuss this with them. This is often left to be the receptionist to navigate them into the NHS system (often responding to how the system is set up) when really a GP or nurse should be better placed.

For example, from research done in East Midlands SHA, it would appear that the number of people who attend A&E rather than the illness level in the population is the factor that determines whether a patient is likely to be admitted to hospital as an emergency. Therefore, if practices can prevent their patients inappropriately attending A&E by improving their access to a GP it is likely that the number of admissions and hence cost to the practice will fall.

When addressing practice systems we look at it from a systems view of structures, processes and outcomes. By addressing all three you can start to impact on the system as a whole and not in isolation. Changing your system to improve urgent care is correct but if you have not looked at outcomes and communicated with patients during the process then the system may fail. 

“As a result of the work done with Productive Primary Care (PPC), we have changed the way we work and improved access for patients by 200%”
Mr Chris Thompson, Stag Medical Practice, Rotherham

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