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Is referral to emergency care practitioners by general practitioners in-hours effective?
  1. J T Gray,
  2. A Walker
  1. Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust, Wakefield, UK
  1. Dr J T Gray, Yorkshire Ambulance Service NHS Trust (South), Springhill II, Wakefield 41 Business Park, Brindley Way, Wakefield WF2 0XQ, UK; james.gray{at}


Objective: To evaluate the cost effectiveness to primary care trusts (PCT) in commissioning general practitioner (GP) referrals in-hours to emergency care practitioners (ECP).

Methods: A retrospective case note review for patients referred by GPs in-hours to ECP over a 4-month period to ascertain any added value over a GP visit.

Results: In a 4-month period 105 patients were referred. In most cases (90.5%) the ECP was utilised as a substitute for a GP rather than providing any additional skills. Defining an avoided attendance as the ECP undertaking an intervention outside a GP skill set this equated to a 9.5% avoided attendance rate compared with the ECP service standard rate of 60%. This has implications both in terms of financial benefit and ongoing ECP service sustainability.

Conclusions: There is little value in a PCT commissioning this service as they will pay twice and care must be taken in accepting new referral streams into existing services.

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  • Competing interests: None.