Study of morbidity in general practice with particular reference to those adult patients who are frequent attenders
Slater, Basil C.S.
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Some groups of patients obviously use the services provided by the general practitioner in the National Health Service more frequently than others. Frequent attenaers can be divided into two main categories. There are those who have frequent consultations but do not necessarily have frequent episodes of illness, and on the other hand those who have frequent episodes of illness, the individual episodes not necessarily requiring frequent consultations. The use of the general practitioner services by patients is probably dependent on two main factors, these factors being the nature of the illness and the patient's reactions to that Illness. The reactions to the illness may be influenced by the patient's personal characteristics and by his environmental conditions. This study attempts to evaluate the morbidity in adults in both groups of frequent attenaers. The illnesses in these groups are compared with the pattern of morbidity in the practice as a whole, the findings regarding morbidity in this practice having first been compared with published findings from other practices in an attempt to ensure that the practice is fairly typical. Further studies have been conducted to try to assess the personal and social characteristics of the group of patients who have frequent episodes of illness. For this part of the study a control group paired by age and sex has been used. For the reason that with children the doctor-patient contact is usually initiated by the parent rather than the child, morbidity in patients under fifteen years of age has been omitted from this latter part of the study.