HEALTH AND CARE: Survey results about urgent care

Last week we talked about the findings from our large-scale Primary and Urgent Care Survey and focused on what people thought about primary care.

Users of urgent service: reason for choice  self referral
Users of urgent service: reason for choice  self referral

This week we’re focusing on urgent care and we were particularly interested in hearing about how people decided what to do when they needed health care urgently – i.e. to see or speak to some that very same day.

We received over 6,000 responses, representing more than one per cent of our population, and nearly half of the people who replied had used urgent care services in the past year either for themselves or someone they cared for.

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We asked service users about their experience and the decisions they made to choose the services.

Over half of the sample had used a GP surgery during opening hours and 42 per cent had attended A&E – representing an attendance of over 22 per cent of the whole sample.

One third had called 111 and a small proportion (15 per cent) had gone to a pharmacist and a similar number had seen an out-of-hours doctor.

We asked people why they chose that service.

Excluding those taken by ambulance or recommended by health professionals, most people choose it because they thought it was the best place, followed by it was the nearest.

People felt confident that they had made the right choice, and 91 per cent said they would use the service again.

We are particularly interested in the reasons for attending A&E, as we know that some of the people coming to A&E could be treated by GP practices or pharmacies.

Over half of the people attending A&E were either recommended by a health professional or were taken by ambulance.

For those who chose independently, the main reason was that they thought it was the best place for the problem.

After that, a proportion went due to locality/convenience, or not knowing where to go.

So how clear is it for people to know where to go?

It seems that three quarters did have enough information to make a decision about where to go to for urgent health care.

This leaves one quarter who are unsure, and over 200 people said they would like more information about services.

The survey shows that most of us are choosing services where we think we will get the right care for what we need.

Sometimes that treatment is at the hospital, but often the best care can be at pharmacies or at the GP surgery.

As the temperature is rising this week, the emergency departments at Worthing Hospital and St Richards in Chichester increased by 32 per cent in just 24 hours.

If you are uncertain what to do when you have an urgent care need, call the NHS 111 for free health advice and assistance or visit

For the full details of the survey you can find it on our website on

If you would like this information in large print, Braille, audio, easy read or other formats, please let us know by emailing {mailto: [email protected]|[email protected]|click here} or calling 01903 708411.


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