Advanced access is a 'damp squib'

Patients in practices offering advanced access are almost a third less likely to have been able to book an appointment well in advance compared with practices not offering the system, according to researchers.

The University of Bristol survey questioned 10,821 patients consulting a GP in 24 advanced access practices and a control group of 24 practices in 12 PCTs. It was the first nationally representative study to compare patient experience in advanced access practices with a control group.

The survey found that 52 per cent of patients at practices offering advanced access were able to book an appointment well in advance compared with 75 per cent in controls.

DoH initiatives in 2002 encouraged practices to meet targets including the wholesale roll-out of advanced access.

The US-developed appointment management process claimed to reduce patient waits, DNAs and improve satisfaction.

The researchers found that patients in practices operating advanced access were seen more quickly but were no more likely to receive appointments that matched their priorities.

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