Frequent attenders in general practice: quality of life, patient satisfaction, use of medical services and GP characteristics

Scand J Prim Health Care. 2001 Sep;19(3):174-7. doi: 10.1080/028134301316982405.


Objective: To determine the predictors of frequent attendance in general practice.

Design: A postal survey using a questionnaire including instruments for measuring patient satisfaction (EUROPEP), quality of life (EUROQOL), anxiety and depression (DUKE-AD).

Setting: Primary health care in Slovenia.

Patients: A representative sample of 2160 adult patients.

Main outcome measures: Number of contacts with the health care services, levels of self-care, patient satisfaction scores, quality of life scores, well-being scores, presence of chronic condition.

Results: Frequent attenders were more likely to have lower educational status, were more satisfied with their GP, had higher scores of anxiety and depression, and lower perceived quality of life. They were more likely to have a chronic disease. Frequent attenders were less likely to try self-care and more likely to use health services. They were more likely to visit more experienced GPs, GPs working a greater distance from other GPs and GPs who did not use the appointment system. The multivariable modelling explained 19.7% of the variation; 16.9% was attributed to patient characteristics and 3.1% to GP characteristics.

Conclusions: The study confirmed that lower education levels, chronicity and higher use of other health services are predictors of higher attendance.

MeSH terms

  • Family Practice / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Satisfaction / statistics & numerical data*
  • Physicians, Family / psychology*
  • Physicians, Family / statistics & numerical data
  • Professional Practice / statistics & numerical data
  • Quality of Life / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Slovenia
  • Workload / psychology
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data