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Primary care consultations for respiratory tract symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cohort study including 70 000 people in South West England

Primary care consultations for respiratory tract symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cohort study including 70 000 people in South West England
Primary care consultations for respiratory tract symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cohort study including 70 000 people in South West England
Background: primary care consultations for respiratory tract symptoms including identifying and managing COVID-19 during the pandemic have not been characterized.

Methods: a retrospective cohort analysis using routinely collected records from 70,431 adults aged 18+ in South England within the Electronic Care and Health Information Analytics (CHIA) database. Total volume and type of consultations (face-to-face, home visits, telephone, email/video, or out of hours) for respiratory tract symptoms between 1 January and 31 July 2020 (during the first wave of the pandemic) were compared with the equivalent period in 2019 for the same cohort. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize consultations by sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, and by COVID-19 diagnosis and outcomes (death, hospitalization, and pneumonia).

Results: overall consultations for respiratory tract symptoms increased by 229% during the pandemic compared with the preceding year. This included significant increases in telephone consultations by 250%, a 1,574% increase in video/email consultations, 105% increase in home visits, and 92% increase in face-to-face consultations. Nearly 60% of people who presented with respiratory symptoms were tested for COVID-19 and 16% confirmed or clinically suspected to have the virus. Those with complications including pneumonia, requiring hospitalization, and who died were more likely to be seen in-person.

Conclusion: during the pandemic, primary care substantially increased consultations for respiratory tract symptoms to identify and manage people with COVID-19. These findings should be balanced against national reports of reduced GP workload for non-COVID care.
0263-2136
Dambha-Miller, Hajira
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Hounkpatin, Hilda
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Harrisskitt-Morgan, Jeffrey
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Stuart, Beth
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Fraser, Simon
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Roderick, Paul
dbb3cd11-4c51-4844-982b-0eb30ad5085a
Dambha-Miller, Hajira
c5cdaff5-0fa1-4d38-b575-b97c2892ec40
Hounkpatin, Hilda
5612e5b4-6286-48c8-b81f-e96d1148681d
Harrisskitt-Morgan, Jeffrey
0e8e149b-9631-41f5-b60f-9f3294845929
Stuart, Beth
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Fraser, Simon
135884b6-8737-4e8a-a98c-5d803ac7a2dc
Roderick, Paul
dbb3cd11-4c51-4844-982b-0eb30ad5085a

Dambha-Miller, Hajira, Hounkpatin, Hilda, Harrisskitt-Morgan, Jeffrey, Stuart, Beth, Fraser, Simon and Roderick, Paul (2021) Primary care consultations for respiratory tract symptoms during the COVID-19 pandemic: a cohort study including 70 000 people in South West England. Family Practice. (doi:10.1093/fampra/cmab127).

Record type: Article

Abstract

Background: primary care consultations for respiratory tract symptoms including identifying and managing COVID-19 during the pandemic have not been characterized.

Methods: a retrospective cohort analysis using routinely collected records from 70,431 adults aged 18+ in South England within the Electronic Care and Health Information Analytics (CHIA) database. Total volume and type of consultations (face-to-face, home visits, telephone, email/video, or out of hours) for respiratory tract symptoms between 1 January and 31 July 2020 (during the first wave of the pandemic) were compared with the equivalent period in 2019 for the same cohort. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize consultations by sociodemographic and clinical characteristics, and by COVID-19 diagnosis and outcomes (death, hospitalization, and pneumonia).

Results: overall consultations for respiratory tract symptoms increased by 229% during the pandemic compared with the preceding year. This included significant increases in telephone consultations by 250%, a 1,574% increase in video/email consultations, 105% increase in home visits, and 92% increase in face-to-face consultations. Nearly 60% of people who presented with respiratory symptoms were tested for COVID-19 and 16% confirmed or clinically suspected to have the virus. Those with complications including pneumonia, requiring hospitalization, and who died were more likely to be seen in-person.

Conclusion: during the pandemic, primary care substantially increased consultations for respiratory tract symptoms to identify and manage people with COVID-19. These findings should be balanced against national reports of reduced GP workload for non-COVID care.

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More information

Accepted/In Press date: 16 September 2021
e-pub ahead of print date: 11 October 2021

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 451621
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/451621
ISSN: 0263-2136
PURE UUID: 7f32f049-57c7-4885-b63e-d2563e6bad78
ORCID for Hajira Dambha-Miller: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5986-3300
ORCID for Beth Stuart: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-5432-7437
ORCID for Simon Fraser: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-4172-4406
ORCID for Paul Roderick: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9475-6850

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 14 Oct 2021 16:33
Last modified: 13 Dec 2021 03:01

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Contributors

Author: Jeffrey Harrisskitt-Morgan
Author: Beth Stuart ORCID iD
Author: Simon Fraser ORCID iD
Author: Paul Roderick ORCID iD

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