To GP or not to GP: a natural experiment in children triaged to see a GP in a tertiary paediatric emergency department (ED)

Smith, Laurie, Narang, Yajur, Pavon, Ana Belen Ibarz, Edwardson, Karl, Bowers, Simon, Jones, Katharine, Lane, Steve, Ryan, Mary, Taylor-Robinson, DC ORCID: 0000-0002-5828-7724 and Carrol, E ORCID: 0000-0001-8357-7726
(2018) To GP or not to GP: a natural experiment in children triaged to see a GP in a tertiary paediatric emergency department (ED). BMJ Quality and Safety, 27 (07). pp. 521-528.

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Objective: To evaluate the impact of integrating a general practitioner (GP) into a tertiary paediatric emergency department (ED) on admissions, waiting times and antibiotic prescriptions. Design: Retrospective cohort study. Setting: Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust, a tertiary paediatric hospital in Liverpool, UK. Participants: From October 2014, a GP was colocated within the ED, from 14:00 to 22:00 hours, 7 days a week. Children triaged green on the Manchester Triage System without any comorbidities were classed as ‘GP appropriate’. The natural experiment compared patients triaged as ‘GP appropriate’ and able to be seen by a GP between 14:00 and 22:00 hours (GP group) to patients triaged as ‘GP appropriate’ seen outside of the hours when a GP was available (ED group). Intention-to-treat (ITT) analysis was used to assess the main outcomes. Results: 5223 patients were designated as ‘GP appropriate’—18.2% of the total attendances to the ED over the study period. There were 2821 (54%) in the GP group and 2402 (46%) in the ED group. The median duration of stay in the ED was 94 min (IQR 63–141) for the GP group compared with 113 min (IQR 70–167) for the ED group (p<0.0005). Using the ITT analysis equivalent, we demonstrated that the GP group were less likely to: be admitted to hospital (2.2% vs 6.5%, OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.24 to 0.44), wait longer than 4 hours (2.3% vs 5.1%, OR 0.45, 95% CI 0.33 to 0.61) or leave before being seen (3.1% vs 5.7%, OR 0.53, 95% CI 0.41 to 0.70), but more likely to receive antibiotics (26.1% vs 20.5%, OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.10 to 1.56). Sensitivity analyses yielded similar results. Conclusions: Introducing a GP to a paediatric ED service can significantly reduce waiting times and admissions, but may lead to more antibiotic prescribing. This study demonstrates a novel, potentially more efficient ED care pathway in the current context of rising demand for children’s emergency services.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: primary care, emergency department, quality improvement methodologies
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 04 Oct 2017 06:29
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:53
DOI: 10.1136/bmjqs-2017-006605
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