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Table 1 Organizational models for out-of-hours care

From: Out-of-hours care in western countries: assessment of different organizational models

Organizational model Definition Example
Small family doctor based models (registration at a family doctor practice)
Individual general family practice The GP takes care of his own patients 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Rural areas of Austria
Rota groups (rota) GPs who are active in the same region take turns being on duty out-of-hours for the patient population of all (up to 15) members of the rota group Municipalities in Norway
Large family doctor based models (independent of registration at a family doctor practice)
GP cooperatives GPs work in a non-profit organization and take turns being on duty out-of-hours for the patient population of all participating GPs. These are large-scale organizations that are supported by nurses, management, chauffeurs, et cetera. Mostly used model for out-of-hours primary care in the Netherlands
Primary care centers (PCC) Centers, which patients can visit without an appointment for minor injuries or illnesses. Such centers operate under supervision of a general practitioner or family physician. In Slovenia one PCC (of all daytime centers) functions as out-of-hours center
Deputizing services Commercial agencies that employ GPs to take over duties of other GPs. NHS direct is common in the United Kingdom
Minor injury centers or walk-in-centers Centers, which patients can visit without an appointment for minor injuries or illnesses in order to ask a trained nurse for health information, advice and treatment. Ireland has a few privately organized models
Hospital based and national models
Telephone triage and advice services (TTA) Patients have contact with a medically trained professional via a fixed, non-regional, telephone number. This person advises or refers the patient to the most suitable professional. National call center in Portugal
Emergency departments of hospitals (A&E) Emergency departments of hospitals taking care of patients out-of-hours. Unofficially used by patients in Belgium
Primary out-of-hours care integrated in the hospital Primary out-of-hours care integrated in the hospital (for example, in emergency departments). Some experiments in Italy