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Understanding patient experience of out-of-hours general practitioner services in South Wales: a qualitative study

Egbunike, Jennifer Nkem, Shaw, Christine, Bale, Sue, Elwyn, Glyn ORCID: and Edwards, Adrian G. ORCID: 2008. Understanding patient experience of out-of-hours general practitioner services in South Wales: a qualitative study. Emergency Medicine 25 (10) , pp. 649-654. 10.1136/emj.2007.052001

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Background: In the light of recent changes in the structure and provision of out-of-hours service in the UK, there is a need to re-assess the quality of care. One way to assess the quality of care is through patient experience. Objectives: This study aimed to explore patient expectations and help-seeking behaviour, in order to understand their relationship with satisfaction and experience of out-of-hours care. Methods: 30 semistructured telephone interviews were carried out with users of the general practitioner out-of-hours service in Gwent, South Wales. The interviews explored users’ experiences of using the service. A thematic analysis of transcripts was carried out using NUD*IST software. Comparison of data within and across codes facilitated the identification of explanatory constructs. Double coding of a sample of transcripts and discussion of emerging themes by members of the research team ensured the reliability of findings. Results: Most (n = 25, 83%) respondents reported satisfaction with the overall service received but a few (n = 5, 17%) were dissatisfied. Patients generally had specific expectations of their consultation and there was a mismatch between patients’ expectations of the service and what the service actually provides in some specific user groups. Unmet expectations resulted in subsequent, and in some cases, multiple consultations. Conclusions: Users’ views and expectations may be used to inform service design and improve services, but the data also indicated a need to address user expectations of services, for example by enhanced information provision. Any such interventions to improve patient experience of out-of-hours care will need to be evaluated.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Publisher: BMJ Publishing
ISSN: 1472-0213
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2022 12:41

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