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Table 7 Scheduling and attending routine visits with GP

From: What matters to people with chronic conditions when accessing care in Australian general practice? A qualitative study of patient, carer, and provider perspectives

Topic Themes and examples
Practice features for booking return or follow-up visits Pre-booking follow-up appointment
Q1 “With my GP, we always book an appointment at the end of a consultation so that I’ve always got one booked when I leave, so we have a regular review. […]” (Patient 5 CES)
Q2 “[Patients] will have an appointment pre-made. I have found that with chronic problems, if you basically say, “Well do this and then get back to me,” then at times people either ring up, can’t get in when they want to, and everything lapses. So, for follow-up of chronic problems, I usually pre-book the appointment.” (GP 5 NBM)
Practice features for appointment booking and recall, reminder
Q3 “[Patients] will get a reminder on their phone the day before, and the majority of our patients in our practice now do have mobile phones, so there’s very few of them that don’t get their SMS reminder. That gets sent out the day before and then if it’s a long appointment, they will actually be asked to ring in and confirm the appointment.” (GP 10 CES)
Q4 “There is no booking system here […] Most practices book and I don’t […] The disadvantage is it’s actually chaotic. In other words, I can’t keep organized like the other practices. On the plus side I tend to see slightly more patients than the appointment system [would allow].” (solo GP 4 CES)
Seeing a regular provider & acceptable alternatives Encouraging and facilitating visits with other GPs in practice
Q5 “If you can’t get in to see him […] they would give you an appointment for one of the other doctors and he and the other doctors have said to me, ‘Don’t worry, we always confer with each other.’ If you were to see another doctor, that doctor would give him the details of what was happening, so he would be up with what was happening to you.” (Patient 8 CES)
Q6 “[GPs at the clinic] are often fully booked and their patients are going “I only want to see Dr. so and so”. So we’ve got this exercise at the moment, trying to change the mindset of patients. ‘We’ve got these great doctors who have a shared medical record and so if you can’t get to see your regular doctor you can see one of these other doctors that are available so we try and facilitate that.’” (Practice nurse 9 CES)