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Social variation in reasons for contacting general practice out-of-hours: implications for daytime service provision?

Drummond, N., McConnachie, A., O'Donnell, C.A., Moffat, K.J., Wilson, P., and Ross, S. (2000) Social variation in reasons for contacting general practice out-of-hours: implications for daytime service provision? British Journal of General Practice, 50 (455). pp. 460-464. ISSN 0960-1643

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Abstract

Background: Contact with general practice out-of-hours services increases with socioeconomic deprivation. The reasons for this association are unclear but may include variations in access to daytime services or differences in morbidity.

Aim: To identify the reasons for contact with the Glasgow Emergency Medical Service (GEMS) in relation to patient sociodemographic characteristics and the nature of the presenting problem.

Method: All contacts with GEMS over a one-week period (n = 3193) in October 1996 were identified and a random 1:2 sample were sent a postal questionnaire investigating their reasons for contacting the service. Sociodemographic data and presenting problems were extracted from the service contact sheet. Data were analysed using correspondence analysis.

Results: Correspondence analysis identified two factors characterised as 'perceived problems with daytime services' and 'perceived urgency'. Scores on the former dimension were significantly associated with age (P<0.0001), gender (P<0.0001), socioeconomic category (P<0.0001), and presenting problem (P = 0.015) and scores were higher in adults, in males, among the non-affluent (particularly those resident in deprived areas), and in those presenting with a musculoskeletal problem. Scores on the latter dimension were significantly associated with age (P<0.0001) and presenting problem (P<0.0001). Scores tended to increase after childhood and for each of the five most frequent categories of presenting problem relative to other symptoms.

Conclusions: Compared to those from affluent areas, patients from non-affluent areas appear to perceive difficulties accessing their general practitioner during surgery hours and may contact out-of-hours services as an alternative.

Item Type:Article
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s):McConnachie, Dr Alex and Wilson, Dr Philip and O'Donnell, Prof Catherine
Authors: Drummond, N., McConnachie, A., O'Donnell, C.A., Moffat, K.J., Wilson, P., and Ross, S.
Subjects:R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > Robertson Centre
College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > General Practice and Primary Care
Journal Name:British Journal of General Practice
ISSN:0960-1643
ISSN (Online):1478-5242
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