Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Frequent attenders are getting poor care

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 13 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g208
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow

Shocking headlines have revealed that a small number of patients attend emergency departments as many as 50 times a year.1 This was suggested to be a waste of resources and a failure of primary care. Perhaps reporters should ask the same questions of general practice. Our waiting rooms are full of familiar faces, who wave as we walk by, some attending more than 50 times a year. GPs are criticised for having appointments that last only 10 minutes, but we spend hours each year in the company of some patients. What leads patients to …

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