The appointment system in primary care is widely used in developed countries, but there seems to be a problem with its use in Saudi Arabia.
(1) To explore opinions and satisfaction of consumers and providers of care in Primary Health Care regarding walk-in and the introduction of the appointment system. (2) To examine factors which may affect commitment to an appointment system in PHC.
Subject and method:
Two hundred sixty (260) consumers above the age of 15 years as well as seventy (70) members of staff were randomly selected from 10 Primary Health Care Clinics in the National Guard Housing Area, Riyadh and asked to complete a structured questionnaire designed to meet the study's objectives.
The majority of consumers and providers of care were in favour of introducing appointments despite their satisfaction with the existing walk-in sysem. Respondents saw many advantages in the appointment system in PHC such as time saving, reduction of crowds in the clinics and guarantee of a time slot. The main perceived disadvantage was the limitation of accessibility to patients especially with acute conditions. The main organizational advantages and disadvantages perceived by providers were related to follow-ups of chronic patients, no shows and late arrivals. The majority of the patients preferred appointments in the afternoon and the possibility of obtaining an appointment over the telephone.
In this study, both consumers and providers supportted the idea of introducing the appointment mixed system in primary care, but further study is required