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Management of non-urgent paediatric emergency department attendances by GPs: a retrospective observational study

Leigh, Simon, Mehta, Bimal, Dummer, Lillian, Aird, Harriet, McSorley, Sinead, Oseyenum, Venessa, Cumbers, Anna, Ryan, Mary, Edwardson, Karl, Johnston, Phil, Robinson, Jude, Coenen, Frans, Taylor-Robinson, David, Niessen, Louis ORCID: and Carrol, Enitan D (2020) 'Management of non-urgent paediatric emergency department attendances by GPs: a retrospective observational study'. British Journal of General Practice, Vol 71, Issue 702, e22-e30.

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Background Non-urgent emergency department (ED) attendances are common among children. Primary care management may not only be more clinically appropriate, but may also improve patient experience and be more cost-effective.

Aim To determine the impact on admissions, waiting times, antibiotic prescribing, and treatment costs of integrating a GP into a paediatric ED.

Design and setting Retrospective cohort study explored non-urgent ED presentations in a paediatric ED in north-west England.

Method From 1 October 2015 to 30 September 2017, a GP was situated in the ED from 2.00 pm until 10.00 pm, 7 days a week. All children triaged as ‘green’ using the Manchester Triage System (non-urgent) were considered to be ‘GP appropriate’. In cases of GP non-availability, children considered non-urgent were managed by ED staff. Clinical and operational outcomes, as well as the healthcare costs of children managed by GPs and ED staff across the same timeframe over a 2-year period were compared.

Results Of 115 000 children attending the ED over the study period, a complete set of data were available for 13 099 categorised as ‘GP appropriate’; of these, 8404 (64.2%) were managed by GPs and 4695 (35.8%) by ED staff. Median duration of ED stay was 39 min (interquartile range [IQR] 16–108 min) in the GP group and 165 min (IQR 104–222 min) in the ED group (P<0.001). Children in the GP group were less likely to be admitted as inpatients (odds ratio [OR] 0.16; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.13 to 0.20) and less likely to wait >4 hours before being admitted or discharged (OR 0.11; 95% CI = 0.08 to 0.13), but were more likely to receive antibiotics (OR 1.42; 95% CI = 1.27 to 1.58). Treatment costs were 18.4% lower in the group managed by the GP (P<0.0001).

Conclusion Given the rising demand for children’s emergency services, GP in ED care models may improve the management of non-urgent ED presentations. However, further research that incorporates causative study designs is required.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: W General Medicine. Health Professions > W 21 Medicine as a profession.
WB Practice of Medicine > WB 100 General works
Faculty: Department: Clinical Sciences & International Health > Clinical Sciences Department
Digital Object Identifer (DOI):
Depositing User: Stacy Murtagh
Date Deposited: 18 Jan 2021 13:26
Last Modified: 18 Jan 2021 13:26


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