Awareness and Utilisation of Primary Healthcare to Reduce Emergency Department Overcrowding in Saudi Arabia
- Awareness; Emergency department; Primary healthcare center; Overcrowding.
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Patients seeking emergency department (ED) care for non-acute conditions are a major contributor to ED overcrowding, which results in longer wait times.
This was a cross-sectional study, conducted using an online survey among the Saudi population to assess their awareness about primary healthcare clinics (PHCCs) and urgent care clinics (UCCs), their role, and their scope of practice.
A total of 565 participants were included in this study. Most of the respondents (81.1%) reported lengthy waiting times in the ED. Moreover, most (81.6%) stated that they had never visited a family doctor, yet they (92.6%) favoured having one for follow-up care. Close to half of the participants (50.3%) reported attending PHCCs without an appointment, and the majority of them (69.2%) said that PHCCs were overcrowded. Finally, most participants (92.4%) had not heard aboutUCCs.
ED overcrowding and prolonged waiting times remain a public concern. PHCCs and UCCs are underutilised, and this is attributed to the lack of awareness about their scope and their services.