New analysis examines consultation rates in general practice

New analysis, published in the British Journal of General Practice (BJGP), examines the factors associated with consultation rates in general practice in England

Factors associated with consultation rates in general practice in England, 2013–2014: a cross-sectional studypublished in the BJGP, analysed the factors associated with consultation rates in general practice.

Analysis revealed consistent trends in factors related to consultation rates in general practice across three types of consultation: all (GP and nurse), GP and nurse. This data, according to the authors of the report, can be applied the development of more sophisticated staffing models and resource allocation formulae.

The overarching message is that, when considering the allocation of funding across general practice, more thought needs to be paid to the variables that impact general practice workload.

The report references recent studies on patient consultation rates in general practice in England – which denote an increase in patient-facing clinical workload – and questions the lack of research in this area given concerns that general practice is ‘under unsustainable pressure’.

Undertaking multi-variate analyses with the three types of consultations, the report found that all three consultation types shared ‘similar, robust trends in factors associated with consultation rates in general practice’.

The report observed that consultation rates increased with age, that females consulted more than males, and that Asian patients consulted more and Chinese patients less than Caucasians.

Also noted was that consultation rates increased with deprivation: “Consultation rates for those with scores in the most deprived quintile were between 13% and 18% higher than for those with scores in the least deprived quintile. Practices with more GPs or nurses had higher consultation rates than those with fewer GPs or nurses, which probably reflects greater availability of appointments in surgeries with higher staff to patient ratios.”

About the authors
Factors associated with consultation rates in general practice in England, 2013–2014: a cross-sectional study was authored by Toqir K MukhtarClare BankheadSarah StevensRafael PereraTim A HoltChris Salisbury and FD Richard Hobbs. 

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