Small effect of a GP after-hours clinic on ED presentations

January 01, 0001

Small effect of a GP after-hours clinic on ED presentations

The aim of this study by researchers from NSW, Australia was to assess the impact of the opening of an after- hours general practice clinic on the number of daily low-urgency presentations to the nearby emergency department involving a retrospective time series analysis of emergency presentation data, from the New South Wales Health Emergency Department Information System, for all patients presenting to the emergency department of Wagga Wagga Base Hospital between January 1998 and October 2008.

After adjusting for long-term trends and weekly and annual cycles, the opening of the after-hours clinic was associated with a daily reduction of 7.04 patients in emergency department presentations with an ATS category of 4 or 5. This represented an 8.2% reduction in total presentations. Presentations of ATS category 1, 2 or 3 patients rose by 1.36 patients a day representing 1.6% of total presentations.

The researchers concluded: "An after-hours general practice clinic was associated with a reduction in low-urgency presentations to the emergency department in Wagga Wagga."

Most of the extra workload seen in such emergency departments does not appear to be from patients who could be seeing a GP instead.

For the full abstract, click here.

MJA 192(8):448-451, 19 April 2010
© The Medical Journal of Australia 2010
The effect of a general practice after-hours clinic on emergency department presentations: a regression time series analysis. David J Buckley, Paul W Curtis and Joseph G McGirr. Correspondence to David Buckley: [email protected]

Category: HSR. Health Services Research. Keywords: after hours clinic, effect, emergency department, presentations, regression time series analysis, journal watch.
Synopsis edited by Dr Stephen Wilkinson, Melbourne, Australia. Posted on Global Family Doctor 7 May 2010

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