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Patients’ expectations of ‘first-contact care’ consultations with nurse and general practitioners in primary care

Redsell, Sarah; Jackson, Clare; Stokes, Tim; Hastings, Adrian; Baker, Richard

Patients’ expectations of ‘first-contact care’ consultations with nurse and general practitioners in primary care Thumbnail


Sarah Redsell

Clare Jackson

Tim Stokes

Adrian Hastings

Richard Baker


Background Patients’ attending UK primary care
currently receive first-contact care services from
nurses as well as general practitioners (GPs). Although
randomised trials have reported higher
satisfaction following nurse consultations,the relationship
between patients’ prior expectations and satisfaction for nurse consultations has not been fully explored.
Objective To explore patients’ expectations of their consultations with nurses or GPs,whether or not they are met,and their overall satisfaction.
Methods Participants were adults attending general practice for same-day first-contact care consultations during 2004. Qualitative data were collected prior to and up to two weeks after the consultation. Semi-structured interview and constant comparative methods were used in order to explore the issue from the perspective of the participants. The main
themes that emerged from this data set have been reported elsewhere. This paper reports on further analysis of participants’ expectations from the first interviews,w ith whether or not these were met from the second interviews.
Results Twenty-eight participants were interviewed
prior to their consultation,and 19 of these participants were interviewed subsequently. Eighteen paired interviews with either a GP (n = 10) or nurse (n = 8) were used for the analysis. Although participants wanted certainty with regard to the outcome of their consultation,most found it difficult to articulate all their expectations of either the
nurse or GP. Participants knew what to expect from their usual GP,and were generally satisfied with the outcome. They had little experience of nurse-led consultations and lower expectations of them. Retrospectively,most participants were satisfied with their nurse-led consultation.
Conclusion The skills,know ledge and authority of
nurses undertaking first-contact care were not fully
understood by participants,and they may adjust
their expectations to take account of this. Patients
consulting with nurses may report higher satisfaction
rates with nurses because they have fewer
expectations beforehand,and if these are exceeded
in the resulting consultation,their satisfaction is,


Redsell, S., Jackson, C., Stokes, T., Hastings, A., & Baker, R. (2007). Patients’ expectations of ‘first-contact care’ consultations with nurse and general practitioners in primary care. Quality in Primary Care, 15(1),

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Feb 1, 2007
Deposit Date Jun 4, 2010
Publicly Available Date Jun 4, 2010
Journal Quality in Primary Care
Print ISSN 1479-1072
Electronic ISSN 1479-1064
Publisher Radcliffe Medical Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 15
Issue 1
Public URL
Publisher URL


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