Does Advanced Access improve access to primary health care? Questionnaire survey of patients

Royal College of General Practitioners
Publication Type:
Journal Article
British Journal of General Practice, 2007, 57 (541), pp. 615 - 621
Issue Date:
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Background: General practices in England have been encouraged to introduce Advanced Access, but there is no robust evidence that this is associated with improved access in ways that matter to patients. Aim: To compare priorities and experiences of patients consulting in practices which do or do not operate Advanced Access. Design of study: Patient questionnaire survey. Setting: Forty-seven practices in 12 primary care trust areas of England. Method: Questionnaire administered when patients consulted. Results: Of 12 825 eligible patients, 10 821 (84%) responded. Most (70%) were consulting about a problem they had had for at least 'a few weeks'. Patients obtained their current appointment sooner in Advanced Access practices, but were less likely to have been able to book in advance. They could usually see a doctor more quickly than those in control practices, but were no more satisfied overall with the appointment system. The top priority for patients was to be seen on a day of choice rather than to be seen quickly, but different patient groups had different priorities. Patients in Advanced Access practices were no more or less likely to obtain an appointment that matched their priorities than those in control practices. Patients in both types of practice experienced problems making contact by telephone.
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