Skip to content

Patient consultation rate and clinical and NHS outcomes: A cross-sectional analysis of English primary care data from 2.7 million patients in 238 practices

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Article number219
Pages (from-to)219
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Issue number1
DateAccepted/In press - 24 Mar 2019
DatePublished (current) - 6 Apr 2019


Primary care workload is high and increasing in the United Kingdom. We sought to examine the association between rates of primary care consultation and outcomes in England.

Cross sectional observational study of routine electronic health care records in 283 practices from the Clinical Practice Research Datalink from April 2013 to March 2014. Outcomes included mortality rate, hospital admission rate, Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) performance and patient satisfaction. Relationships between consultation rates (with a general practitioner (GP) or nurse) and outcomes were investigated using negative binomial and ordinal logistic regression models.

Rates of GP and nurse consultation (per patient person-year) were not associated with mortality or hospital admission rates: mortality incidence rate ratio (IRR) per unit change in GP/ nurse consultation rate = 1.01, 95% CI [0.98 to 1.04]/ 0.97, 95% CI [0.93 to 1.02]; hospital admission IRR per unit change in GP/ nurse consultation rate = 1.02, 95% CI [0.99 to 1.04]/ 0.98, 95% CI [0.94 to 1.032]. Higher rates of nurse but not GP consultation were associated with higher QOF achievement: OR = 1.91, 95% CI [1.39 to 2.62] per unit change in nurse consultation rate vs. OR = 1.04, 95% CI [0.87 to 1.24] per unit change in GP consultation rate. The association between the rates of GP/ nurse consultations and patient satisfaction was mixed.

There are few associations between primary care consultation rates and outcomes. Previously identified demographic and staffing factors, rather than practice workload, appear to have the strongest relationships with mortality, admissions, performance and satisfaction. Studies with more detailed patient-level data would be required to explore these findings further.

    Research areas

  • General practice, Hospitalization, Mortality, Quality of care, Workload

Download statistics

No data available



  • Full-text PDF (final published version)

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via Springer Nature at Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 582 KB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups