Recommendation ID

Extended access to GP services:- Is extended access to GP services, for example during early mornings, evenings and weekends, more clinically and cost effective than standard access?

Any explanatory notes
(if applicable)

Why this is important:- Continuity of care improves patient experience, aids clinical decision-making and could reduce hospital admissions. GPs' knowledge of patients enhances trust and promotes patient-centred care, especially when dealing with complex conditions. Currently, outside of standard GP hours
(Monday to Friday, 08:00 to 18:30), people who need urgent primary care are triaged and treated by an out-of-hours GP provider and will usually be seen by a primary care clinician who is not familiar with them or their history, and who might not have access to their complete clinical records. Extended weekday and weekend access to their usual primary care team might reduce people's unscheduled use of secondary care emergency services. It might also increase opportunities to prevent exacerbations of chronic disease and thus reduce emergency hospital admissions. There is also likely to be less movement to secondary care if there is greater access to usual primary care because GP surgeries are often more conveniently located than more distant out-of-hours centres. Many extended access schemes currently in operation for general practice are for prebooked appointments only and do not provide emergency care. The focus of this research recommendation is on extending opening hours of practices for the full spectrum of GPs' clinical work. [See the evidence review on GP extended hours.]

Source guidance details

Comes from guidance
Emergency and acute medical care in over 16s: service delivery and organisation
Date issued
March 2018

Other details

Is this a recommendation for the use of a technology only in the context of research? No  
Is it a recommendation that suggests collection of data or the establishment of a register?   No  
Last Reviewed 31/03/2018