Preferences for access to the GP: a discrete choice experiment

Rubin, Greg; Bate, Angela; George, Ajay; Shackley, Phil; Hall, Nicola
October 2006
British Journal of General Practice;Oct2006, Vol. 56 Issue 531, p743
Academic Journal
Background Access to primary care services is one of the key components of the NH6 Plan which states that patients should be able to see a health professional with 24 hours and a GP with 48 hours. However, it is not clear how patients value speed of access in comparison with other aspects of primary care. Aim To investigate patient preferences when making an routine appointment for a GP, and to describe the trade-offs and relationships between speed of access, choice of time and choice of doctor in different patient groups. Design of study Discrete choice experiment. Setting Adults consulting a GP in six general practices in Sunderland Method Choice sets based on three attributes (time to appointment, choice of time, choice of doctor) were presented in a self-completion questionnaire. Results We obtained 6985 observations from 1153 patients. We found that the waiting time to make an appointment was only important if the appointment is for a child or when attending for a new health problem. Other responders would trade-off a shorter waiting time and be willing to wait in order to either see their own choice of doctor or attend an appointment at their own choice of time. For responders who work, choice of time is six times more important than a shorter waiting time and they are willing to wait up to 1 day extra for this. Those with a long-standing illness value seeing their own GP more than seven times as much as having a shorter waiting time for an appointment and will wait an extra 1 day for an appointment with the GP of their choice, women will wait an extra 2 days, and older patients an extra 2.5 days. Conclusion Speed of access is of limited importance to patients accessing their GP, and for many is outweighed by choice of GP or convenience of appointment.


Related Articles

  • Cameron reveals plan for seven day access to GPs. Iacobucci, Gareth // BMJ: British Medical Journal;10/5/2013, Vol. 347 Issue 7927, p1 

    The article reports on a policy launched by British Prime Minister David Cameron at the Conservative Party's conference, which extends hours of service by general practitioners (GP) in England. Under the policy, patients may see a GP any day of the week and for longer in the evenings. Cameron...

  • Editor's Briefing. Jones, Roger // British Journal of General Practice;Mar2013, Vol. 63 Issue 608, p1 

    An introduction is presented in which the editor discusses various reports within the issue on topics including patient's access to primary care, the contextual issues about the roles of general practitioner (GP) receptionists, and the permission of patients to choose their appointment length.

  • Wales access target impossible, says GPC.  // Pulse;8/19/2002, Vol. 62 Issue 32, p1 

    Reports on the Welsh Assembly's primary care plans that raised access concerns among general practitioners.

  • 'Keep one-third of I slots for urgent care'.  // Pulse;5/6/2009, Vol. 69 Issue 15, p10 

    The article focuses on the recommendation of the Primary Care Foundation (PCF) to general practitioners (GPs) to reserve a portion of their daily appointments to patients seeking for immediate care in Great Britain. The foundation also urges GPs to make use of telephone consultations to patients...

  • Forgetfulness and apathy top list of excuses for DNAs.  // GP: General Practitioner;2/9/2004, p20 

    Forgetfulness is the main reason that patients miss their general practitioner (GP) appointments according to a study in the "British Journal of General Practice." The second most common reason is that some patients' couldn't be bothered, according to the results of 336 questionnaires sent to...

  • The practicable paradox--the five minute emergency. Panja, Ayan S. // BMJ: British Medical Journal (International Edition);10/2/2004, Vol. 329 Issue 7469, p782 

    Considers the five minute emergency slots in the author's medical practice. Four slots of five minute each which are put aside daily for "true emergencies"; Typical patients for those slots and how they do not count as true emergencies; Few things that actually qualify for a GP emergency and how...

  • Access to primary care: the most misunderstood improvement initiative in the NHS Modernisation Programme? McDonough, Richard // Work Based Learning in Primary Care;Dec2005, Vol. 3 Issue 4, p358 

    The article focuses on the National Primary Care Collaborative (NPCC) program which examines the learning outcomes of the cohort of general practitioner practices. The NCPP was aimed at improving the primary care access. The practices meeting monthly Primary Care Access Survey targets reveal...

  • Referrals 'hijacked'. Wilkinson, Emma // Pulse;9/28/2006, Vol. 66 Issue 36, p8 

    The article reports on the diversion of patients away from primary care trusts hospitals to underused independent treatment centers in Great Britain to save money and cut hospital waiting times. This diversion has affected general practitioners (GP) wherein they have reported their referrals are...

  • WestREN: a description of an Irish academic general practice research network. Kavanagh, Kim E.; O'Brien, Niamh; Glynn, Liam G.; Vellinga, Akke; Murphy, Andrew W. // BMC Family Practice;2010, Vol. 11, p74 

    Background: Primary care research networks have been established internationally since the 1960s to enable diverse practitioners to engage in and develop research and education and implement research evidence. The newly established Western Research and Education Network (WestREN) is one such...


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics