Our vision: to transform access to medical care.

Christmas Peace Dividend

Method:  Telephone GP practice between 11am and midday today 23/12/16 and ask receptionist how busy they are, compared with an average Friday.

Sample:  10 practices throughout UK, 6 England, 2 NI, 1 Scotland, 1 Wales, mix of urban/rural/socio-economic populations.  All operate a demand led system, GP telephone response, no pre-booked face to face appts.

Results:  2 say about normal, 2 somewhat quieter, 6 much quieter.

Analysis:  Someone please help me with the p-value.

Discussion:  Qualitative comments added to the findings, several echoing the view “It’s going really really well here, the patients are very happy, and so are the doctors, so we are too”.  “We were expecting a rush, but it’s been quiet all week.”

None of the respondents admitted to wearing a silly hat, though one said she would be this afternoon.

One referred me to the practice manager, who said they were so quiet they’d sent a doctor to help another local practice. (Kidderminster Church St).

Summary:  er, most of them are having a really quiet day.

Published:  12:47

* not commissioned, not peer reviewed, non-RCT.  The author declares a COI.


Thank you for all your contributions this year and wishing you the most peaceful Christmas

Harry Longman

PS Learning is one of the joys of the break and Nuffield Trust has put together a wonderful reading list.  Delayed half an hour in Belfast last Tuesday I found Matthew Syed’s “Black Box Thinking” – yes, airports can enrich the mind!

And the relevance to our study?  Every day we are bombarded with messages of stress, overload, unsustainable soaring tsunamis of demand.  So the finding that today is quiet falsifies the dominant view about demand.  Do read the book.


2 responses to “Christmas Peace Dividend”

  1. You describe an amazing transformation. Workflow changes this dramatic take time for the humans to adjust to the impact. Of course, three years from now when they are doing e-visits for simple complaints (colds, cough, flu) instead of having such an expensive resource (the physician) calling all the patients back, they will all say they are much quieter.

    More interesting would be to ask the other practice who benefited from the extra doctor to handle their demand why they haven’t changed their workflow. Do they like doing busy work? Do they like being overworked as a way of feeling needed and important? Are they interested in offering better quality (less wait, faster access) to their patients? Would they like to be more efficient?

  2. Sebastian says:

    I am glad to hear it is working well for some practices. Common sense tells me others should try this out as well.
    Patients should also become again more confident in managing minor illnesses themselves without need to see anyone or to consult the pharmacy first.

    Statistics: Sorry can’t help with the data provided, but statistical analysis of series should be possible to assess impact and significant changes beyond normal variations. No p-values needed.

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