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Telephone use in primary care

BMJ 2002; 325 doi: (Published 07 September 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;325:547

Programme to shape demand has been started in several practices

  1. John Oldham, head (
  1. National Primary Care Development Team, Manchester M60 7LP
  2. Cystic Fibrosis Centre
  3. Cystic Fibrosis Centre
  4. Department of Paediatrics, University of Florence, Anna Meyer Children's Hospital, 50132 Florence, Italy

    EDITOR—Toon's editorial on using telephones in primary care raises several points, in particular the diversity of opinion about the relative merits of clinical skill versus computer algorithms.1 He may be unaware of some primary care activity that is moving events on.

    The primary care collaborative, run by the National Primary Care Development Team, aims to improve access to primary care as one of its three principal objectives. The method advocated is “advanced access,” and a key element of this is the need to shape demand. This can be done by telephone consultation. Telephones can be used for managing same day demand, follow up appointments, and other queries in the same way that was used in the practice that Toon looked at.

    The practices track their own data, but collectively we believe that there is a …

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