In National Health Care Systems excessive reappointments at consultative clinics can result in over utilization of those services and/or too much retention of patients which frustrates family physicians in their interest for continuity of care for chronic patients. In order better to understand many consultants' complaints about overwork, we examined the proportion of patients who were given follow-up appointments by type of speciality in 2840 consecutive services requested in a multispecialist centre of a prepaid system in Israel, analysing as well the suspected disparity between this proportion and the consultants'perceptions on this subject. The results of this study show that 44.7% of patients at consultant clinics were given follow-up appointments, and that there was a marked disparity between the real and the subjectively estimated rates of follow-up in surgical specialities (rate-ratio 2.4). This suggests that a problem exists in the knowledge that consultants have of the structure of their own practices.
- Outpatient care