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The process of outpatient referral and care: the experiences and views of patients, their general practitioners, and specialists

The process of outpatient referral and care: the experiences and views of patients, their general practitioners, and specialists
The process of outpatient referral and care: the experiences and views of patients, their general practitioners, and specialists
Background. The primary care system in the United Kingdom, involving the general practitioner (GP) as gatekeeper to further services, has helped to keep health care costs down. Despite this, unexplained variation in referral rates and increasing health care costs have led to the search for methods of improving efficiency. There is relatively little recent descriptive data on the processes of care at the primary-secondary care interface. The study reported here provides information about this.Aim, To analyse the patterns and process of care for the referral of outpatients, together with the views of patients, their GPs, and specialists.Method. A questionnaire survey of outpatients, their hospital specialists, and GPs in randomly sampled district health authorities in the North Thames Region. The measures included items and scales measuring satisfaction and processes.Results. Almost all of the outpatients thought that their consultation with the specialist was 'necessary' and 'worthwhile: Most of the GPs felt that they could nor have given the study patients the care, treatment, and investigations they received in hospital, and most of the sampled patients' attendances were rated by the specialists as 'appropriate: However, for just over one-fifth of new patients, the specialists reported that the GP could have done more tests and examinations prior to referring the study patient. Large proportions of GPs in this survey also reported having technical equipment in their practices as well as direct access to a range of services and hospital-based facilities.Conclusion. A large amount of work is carried out in general practice prior to the hospital referral of patients, and GPs have direct access to some technologies and services that can act to reduce the burden on hospitals. The discrepancy between GPs' and specialists' perceptions about the potential for further investigative work prior to patient referral merits further investigation.
referral, patient satisfaction, general practitioners, hospital specialists
0960-1643
116 - 120
Bowling, Ann
796ca209-687f-4079-8a40-572076251936
Redfern, Judith
9a4ad668-2821-478a-baef-7e94f87d22e4
Bowling, Ann
796ca209-687f-4079-8a40-572076251936
Redfern, Judith
9a4ad668-2821-478a-baef-7e94f87d22e4

Bowling, Ann and Redfern, Judith (2000) The process of outpatient referral and care: the experiences and views of patients, their general practitioners, and specialists. British Journal of General Practice, 50 (451), 116 - 120. (PMID:10750208)

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background. The primary care system in the United Kingdom, involving the general practitioner (GP) as gatekeeper to further services, has helped to keep health care costs down. Despite this, unexplained variation in referral rates and increasing health care costs have led to the search for methods of improving efficiency. There is relatively little recent descriptive data on the processes of care at the primary-secondary care interface. The study reported here provides information about this.Aim, To analyse the patterns and process of care for the referral of outpatients, together with the views of patients, their GPs, and specialists.Method. A questionnaire survey of outpatients, their hospital specialists, and GPs in randomly sampled district health authorities in the North Thames Region. The measures included items and scales measuring satisfaction and processes.Results. Almost all of the outpatients thought that their consultation with the specialist was 'necessary' and 'worthwhile: Most of the GPs felt that they could nor have given the study patients the care, treatment, and investigations they received in hospital, and most of the sampled patients' attendances were rated by the specialists as 'appropriate: However, for just over one-fifth of new patients, the specialists reported that the GP could have done more tests and examinations prior to referring the study patient. Large proportions of GPs in this survey also reported having technical equipment in their practices as well as direct access to a range of services and hospital-based facilities.Conclusion. A large amount of work is carried out in general practice prior to the hospital referral of patients, and GPs have direct access to some technologies and services that can act to reduce the burden on hospitals. The discrepancy between GPs' and specialists' perceptions about the potential for further investigative work prior to patient referral merits further investigation.

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More information

Published date: February 2000
Keywords: referral, patient satisfaction, general practitioners, hospital specialists
Organisations: Faculty of Health Sciences

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 334714
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/334714
ISSN: 0960-1643
PURE UUID: b4431549-ab64-4941-9ec2-969b43f088a0

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Date deposited: 21 Mar 2012 10:27
Last modified: 18 Jul 2017 06:11

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