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Table 8 Scheduling and attending GP visits outside of regular appointments (e.g. urgent or unexpected care)

From: What matters to people with chronic conditions when accessing care in Australian general practice? A qualitative study of patient, carer, and provider perspectives

Topic Themes and examples
Limitations in seeing regular GP outside of regular visits Distance to general practice clinic
Q1 “I don’t live super close […] Say for example if I am actually sick with a virus or something unexpected that aspect isn’t so convenient.” (Patient 3 CES)
Limited availability of GP for non-scheduled visits
Q2 “[My GP is] only at that particular clinic on Tuesdays and Saturdays so if I had something unexpected happen where I couldn’t forward plan I wouldn’t be able to see him at that clinic.” (Patient 3 CES)
Practice operating hours incompatible with patient schedule
Q3 “Sometimes we’ll have a client who’s working from 8:00 to 4:00 or 9:00 to 5:00. Then we won’t be able to meet their needs because some will ask for the weekend service, which we don’t have, and our clinic opens at 8:00 and closes at 4:00. That’s probably the accessibility [problem].” (Practice nurse 4 CES)
Lack of GPs in remote area
Q4 “Often I get really nervous about ringing up on the day because I’m like am I going to get an appointment or is my sickness that important? […] We should be able to have access to doctors. I think they could work on that. I think we need a lot more GPs in the mountains generally. I used to live in the city and I never had trouble getting a GP [...]” (Patient 1 NBM)
Q5 “To get to the GP outside of a visit is almost impossible.” (Carer 2 NBM)
Flexibility in appointment booking and communication Flexible communication with patient in between visits
Q6 “I always know that I can contact her at any time in between appointments if need be. I feel very comfortable and very confident to call her or text or email her - they’re our methods of communicating - and say, ‘Things aren’t great. Can I see you sooner?’” (Patient 5 CES)
Q7 “sometimes they ask for your business card. I provide it and just tell them Monday to Wednesday I’m upstairs, then Friday another nurse, [Nurse Name], is upstairs. Often we won’t be the ones to answer the call but our receptionist will write down their questions or will make sure that we received the note, so we’ll call the patient back. Sometimes we can answer their questions through the phone […]” (Practice nurse 4 CES)
Flexible appointment options (incl. Drop ins)
Q8 “I think having a service that is accessible, so having a mixture of appointments, drop-ins or emergencies. So when we do our booking schedule we only book two or three an hour to have that space.” (GP 11 SWS)