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Does setting up out of hours primary care cooperatives outside a hospital reduce demand for emergency care?
  1. C J T van Uden1,2,
  2. H F J M Crebolder2
  1. 1Department of Integrated Care, Research Institute Caphri, University Hospital Maastricht, Netherlands
  2. 2Department of General Practice, Research Institute Caphri, University of Maastricht, Netherlands
  1. Correspondence to:
 C J T van Uden
 Department of Integrated Care (BZe7), University Hospital Maastricht, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, Netherlands;


Objective: To investigate whether the reorganisation of out of hours primary care, from practice rotas to GP cooperatives, changed utilisation of primary and hospital emergency care.

Methods: During a four week period before and a four week period after the reorganisation of out of hours primary care in a region in the south of the Netherlands all patient contacts with general practitioners and hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments were analysed.

Results: A 10% increase was found in patient contacts with out of hours primary care, and a 9% decrease in patient contacts with out of hours emergency care. The number of self referrals at the A&E department was reduced by about 4%.

Conclusions: The reorganisation of out of hours primary care has led to a shift in patient contacts from emergency care to primary care.

  • emergency services
  • out of hours care

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  • Funding: this study was funded by the Districts General Practitioners Association Limburg.

  • Conflicts of interest: none declared.

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