Urgent care: a practical guide to transforming same-day care in general practice (May 2009)

You can download an electronic version of the report here: Urgent Care Report

Also link to HSJ article by Kaye McIntosh: HSJ Article

This report is supported by a broad coalition of influential bodies, including the Royal College of General Practitioners and the British Medical Association’s GPs Committee (see their letter at the front of the report), the NHS Alliance and Primary Care Contracting, as well as being funded and supported by the Department of Health.

Urgent care in general practice has not had the same policy focus compared to high profile policy areas such as hospital emergency care and managing long-term conditions. Yet responding efficiently to demand for same-day care brings significant benefits for patients, practices and for the wider healthcare system.  Primary care commissioners must tackle the major issues presented by emergency admissions if commissioning strategies are to be deemed successful.

This report throws a spotlight on the differing ways urgent care is, and can be, managed in day-to-day general practice, offering key insights into how we can all improve our patients’ care and access making best use of existing resources and identifying areas and practices that require additional resources.. There are real-life examples of better management of urgent care making a difference: reducing attendance at A&E and emergency hospital admissions, offering a better service to patients and enabling GPs and primary care staff to take control of their workload.

It offers practical advice and support to practice managers and GPs across the country. Rather than setting national targets that inevitably fail to reflect the unique patient population, geography, and skill mix of individual practices, it encourages them to look at their own processes, make changes and set their own realistic and appropriate local standard, within their available resources.

If you would like to know more about this initiative, please click HERE

About Us

The Primary Care Foundation was established to support the development of best practice in primary and urgent care.  The three Directors bring different skills and perspectives to understanding primary and urgent health care - for more details click below:

David Carson

Rick Stern

Henry Clay



Latest News

New on-line registration for the potentially avoidable appointments audit

The Primary Care Foundation were selected by NHS England to further improve and automate the audit of potentially avoidable appointments. We are now building a new website with Method Analytics that will make it much easier for any practice to register online, will simplify data collection for clinicians, and will allow for instant reporting on results. The reports will be much easier to understand and will signpost other support. And it will remain free to use for all practices in England.

We are now ready to go live with a new ‘test’ site. We are confident it is already easier to use but we are keen to get any feedback from practices before the new website is fully up and running.

If you are a practice in England and you want to register, CLICK HERE and click on ‘register here to create a practice audit!’ You will be guided through registration and how to set up your clinicians to take part in the audit.  This is a new test site, so if you notice anything that doesn’t look right, or could be made easier, just let us know.  And the same for your clinicians as they enter data – any feedback at the moment – good or bad – would be really helpful … just email us This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


What do we mean by an ‘avoidable appointment?

The latest blog by Rick Stern ‘If only …’ explores the idea of avoidable appointments, what practices have gained from the audit, and what might be possible with further investment in general practice. It is available HERE and will also be published in Health Care Leader.


Are there any simple lessons for practices looking to improve access?

A feature article in Management in Practice by Rick Stern reviews what we have learned from working with over 1,500 practices across the UK – you can read the full article HERE  


Integrated Urgent Care – how to make NHS 111 work

A lead article for Health Care Leader by Henry Clay describes a financial and capacity model developed for NHS England, the potential benefits and pitfalls, and what we have learned from working with a dozen areas to apply the model. The article is available at HERE and a fuller version with a number of explanatory graphs can be downloaded HERE


Integrated Urgent Care – opportunity for support to your locality

We have developed a financial model for the Integrated Urgent Care Team at NHS England that focuses on the NHS 111 and OOH ‘front end’ to an integrated urgent care system (but also looks at the cost of onward referrals to other services). This is proving to be an invaluable tool for both commissioners and providers. It is now available to use and NHS England have also agreed to support some sites to setup and work through the model with PCF’s Henry Clay who developed the model. For further information please contact Henry on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


We are now supporting over 1,500 practices across the UK to manage access and urgent care

Our support for general practices looking to improve access for patients and streamline the management of urgent care continues to expand. Based on a web based tool, developed out of our work commissioned by the Department of Health, we collect practice data for one week and prepare a report for each practice looking at how you compare to others and explore what this means for making practical changes in the way you work. We are regularly improving the format of our reports for practices based on constant feedback. If you would like to see an example report, CLICK HERE.  If you want to know more about how we might work with you please contact Rick Stern on  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or call on 07709 746771.