Why do children under 5 years go to the GP in Lambeth: a cross-sectional study

Eleanor Craven, Gemma Luck, Kerry Brown, Hiten Dodhia, Shaneka Foster, Carla Stanke, Paul Seed, James Crompton, David Whitney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: There is a paucity of research about how under 5-year-olds utilise primary care in the UK, despite having one of the highest consultation rates of any age group. A greater understanding of the factors influencing health within this age group can inform targeted health promotion. AIM: This study aims to understand primary care use in children under 5 years old in Lambeth, how this is influenced by key sociodemographic factors, and how these factors influence frequent attendance to primary care. METHOD: GP records from Lambeth, South London, were extracted from 1 April 2017 to 31 March 2020 for all children under 5 years old. The frequency of codes entered during an interaction were ranked and then compared by sex, ethnicity, age, and deprivation level. A clustered logistic regression was then run to determine how these factors influenced frequent attendance. RESULTS: Nine conditions formed over 50% of all patient interactions: the most common reason was upper respiratory tract infections, followed by eczema and cough, with minimal variation by age and ethnicity. Children living in the most deprived area and children of Indian, Bangladeshi, and Other White ethnicities were more likely to be frequent attenders. CONCLUSION: Most reasons for attendance for children under 5 years to primary care are for acute, self-limiting conditions. Some of these could potentially be managed by increasing access to community care services. By focusing on the influence of the broader determinants of health, health promotion efforts have the opportunity to reduce barriers to health care and improve outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe British journal of general practice : the journal of the Royal College of General Practitioners
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Jul 2023

Cite this