Rural/urban differences in accounts of patients' initial decisions to consult primary care

Jane Farmer, Lisa Iversen, Neil Crawford Campbell, C. Guest, R. Chesson, George Deans, J. MacDonald

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78 Citations (Scopus)


In the UK, patients in urban areas consult primary health care more than rural patients for both trivial and serious conditions. This study, involving focus groups and interviews, examined rural/urban differences in accounts of patients' intentions around initial decisions to consult general practice. Findings suggest 'relationships' between doctors and patients and easier access to appointments could affect consulting in rural areas, while decision-making for urban patients tended to be more consumerist. Perceptions about access to different health services meant rural patients' decision-making in out-of-hours emergencies was complex. Rural/urban differences in demand could be affected by change in UK primary care provision. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)210-221
Number of pages11
JournalHealth & Place
Issue number2
Early online date9 Feb 2005
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2006


  • rural health care
  • primary health care
  • general practice
  • patient-doctor relationships
  • consulting
  • patients' decision-making
  • frequent attenders
  • urban differences
  • breast cancer
  • heart attack
  • medical care
  • accessibility
  • delay
  • determinants
  • continuity


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