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Table 7 Access discussed in response to specific questions, and not presented as central to GPs' work

From: Personal continuity and access in UK general practice: a qualitative study of general practitioners' and patients' perceptions of when and how they matter

'We have an ongoing problem with reception staff, because they see themselves very much as the patient's advocate and if a patient wishes an appointment on a Tuesday afternoon and I'm not available, they will feel that they're doing the right thing by the patient, by giving them an appointment with somebody else, so we have an ongoing problem in trying to get the receptionist to realise just how important it is to ask which doctor rather than what time.'
Dr T
'I think appointment surgeries are an incredibly efficient way of seeing patients, and I also think that it's important that the patient can get seen on any day that they wish to. ... The disadvantage of an open surgery is that you get to see a whole crowd that probably would have got better anyway, the advantage is that patients really like it.'
Dr H
'If they want to see one of the very heavily booked doctors they could wait two weeks to be seen. If they want to see, on average, it's maybe two days to see a doctor. The other factor to take into account is the time the patient wants to be seen. I actually did that when I was a student. I spent a week working out how long people had to wait for an appointment and the reasons why they had to wait and the single most important factor was the time didn't suit. The doctor might have lots of appointments, didn't suit, therefore (shrugs).'
Dr R