Preferences of patients for emergency services available during usual GP surgery hours: a discrete choice experiment

Gerard, K. and Lattimer, V. (2005) Preferences of patients for emergency services available during usual GP surgery hours: a discrete choice experiment Family Practice, 22, (1), pp. 28-36. (doi:10.1093/fampra/cmh623).


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Objective: A study was undertaken to investigate patients' strength of preferences for attributes or characteristics associated with delivery of emergency primary care services available during usual GP surgery hours and to investigate the trade-offs between attributes.
Methods: A discrete choice experiment was used to quantify patients' strength of preferences for several key attributes of usual-hours emergency primary care. The attributes were chosen to reflect the findings of previous research, current policy initiatives and discussions with local key stakeholders. A self-complete questionnaire was administered to NHS Direct callers and adult attenders at Accident and Emergency, GP services and the NHS Walk-in Centre in the locality. Regression analysis was used to estimate the relative importance to patients of the different attributes.
Results: An overall response of 71% (n = 432) was achieved. All but one of the attributes was a statistically significant predictor of preference. The attribute ‘being kept informed about waiting time’ was the most important. This was followed by ‘quality of the consultation’, ‘having a consultation with a nurse’, ‘having a consultation with a doctor’ and ‘contacting the service in person’. Respondents were prepared to wait an extra 68 min to have a consultation with a doctor, but an extra 2 h 9 min for information about expected waiting time. There were no measurable preference differences between patients surveyed at different NHS entry points. Respondents younger than 45 years held strong preferences with respect to how they wanted to make contact with the system, whereas older respondents appeared not to hold strong preferences, seemingly indifferent between the alternatives. There was weak evidence which showed the younger group more strongly preferred accessing services via an integrated telephone system than making contact in person.
Conclusions: This study showed that local solutions for reforming emergency primary care during hours when the GP surgery is open should take account of the strength of patient preferences. The discrete choice method was acceptable, and the results directly informed the development of a local service framework for such care.

Item Type: Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi:10.1093/fampra/cmh623
ISSNs: 0263-2136 (print)
Related URLs:
Keywords: discrete choice experiments, emergency care, patient preference, preference elicitation, primary care
ePrint ID: 17373
Date :
Date Event
November 2005Published
Date Deposited: 25 May 2006
Last Modified: 16 Apr 2017 23:16
Further Information:Google Scholar

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