Research news

Nurse consultations raise quality of outcomes in general practice

Higher rates of consultations by general practice nurses raise quality of outcomes, but not patient satisfaction

Higher rates of consultations by general practice nurses raise quality of outcomes, but not patient satisfaction

Picture: iStock

Nurse consultations raise the quality of outcomes in general practice, a study shows.

Consultations rose 16% in 2007-2014 in UK general practice but the relationship between volume, rate of consultations and patient outcomes is unclear.

This observational study explored statistical associations between clinical and service outcomes – mortality, hospital admission rates, quality of care and patient satisfaction – and consultation rates.

Anonymised patient electronic health records from 283 practices in the year to March 2014 were used.

Quality outcomes

The rates of GP and nurse consultation were not found to be associated with hospital admission or mortality rates at the practice level. Being aged over 64, higher indices of socio-economic deprivation and living in urban areas were associated with higher hospital admissions rates.

Higher rates of nurse consultation were found to be associated with better achievement in the quality outcomes framework, but not in patient satisfaction.

Higher rates of GP consultation were associated with better rates of patient satisfaction only on access criteria. The authors say that more detailed patient-level data is required to explore these findings further.


Lay-Flurrie S, Mathieu E, Bankhead C et al (2019) Patient consultation rate and clinical and NHS outcomes: a cross-sectional analysis of English primary care data from 2.7 million patients in 238 practices. BMC Health Services Research. 19, 1, 219. doi: 10.1186/s12913-019-4036-y

Vari Drennan is professor of healthcare and policy research at Kingston University and St George’s, University of London

Find out more

NHS Digital (2019) Quality Outcomes Framework

This article is for subscribers only