Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of brjgenpracRCGP homepageJ R Coll Gen Pract at PubMed CentralBJGP at RCGPBJGP at RCGP
Br J Gen Pract. 1994 December; 44(389): 577–580.
PMCID: PMC1239082

Near patient testing in general practice: attitudes of general practitioners and practice nurses, and quality assurance procedures carried out.


BACKGROUND. The evaluation of near patient testing in British general practice has largely been confined to studies examining individual tests or comparing equipment. AIM. This study set out to determine the attitudes of practice staff to near patient testing, and the extent to which staff undertook quality assessment. METHOD. Four types of near patient testing machines were introduced into 12 general practices in two regions of England, south west Thames and west Midlands. General practitioner and practice nurse attitudes to near patient testing were assessed by semi-structured interview before and six months after the introduction of the machines. The extent to which routine quality assurance procedures were carried out within the surgery and as part of local and national schemes was examined. RESULTS. Although 80% of general practitioners anticipated changing patient management with near patient testing, only two fifths reported having done so after six months. Nurses generally were enthusiastic at the outset, although one third were unhappy about incorporating near patient testing into their work schedules. Time pressure was the most important factor restricting uptake of near patient testing. Nurses performed quality control regularly but complete local external quality assurance procedures were established in only half the practices. All the practices participated in a national scheme for cholesterol assays. CONCLUSION. General practitioners in this study did not find near patient testing a very useful addition to their resources. Pressure on nurses' time was the most frequently reported limitation.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (866K), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Hilton S. Near patient testing in general practice: a review. Br J Gen Pract. 1990 Jan;40(330):32–36. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jennett B. Health technology assessment. BMJ. 1992 Jul 11;305(6845):67–68. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Anggard EE, Land JM, Lenihan CJ, Packard CJ, Percy MJ, Ritchie LD, Shepherd J. Prevention of cardiovascular disease in general practice: a proposed model. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1986 Jul 19;293(6540):177–180. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Jones A, Davies DH, Dove JR, Collinson MA, Brown PM. Identification and treatment of risk factors for coronary heart disease in general practice: a possible screening model. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988 Jun 18;296(6638):1711–1714. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Burke P, Bain J, Lowes A, Athersuch R. Rational decisions in managing sore throat: evaluation of a rapid test. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1988 Jun 11;296(6637):1646–1649. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Leese B, Hutton J. Desk top analysers in general medical practice: how useful are they? Med Lab Sci. 1990 Oct;47(4):256–262. [PubMed]
  • Hobbs FD, Broughton PM, Kenkre JE, Thorpe GH, Batki A. Comparison of the use of four desktop analysers in six urban general practices. Br J Gen Pract. 1992 Aug;42(361):317–321. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Neville RG. Evaluation of portable haemoglobinometer in general practice. Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1987 May 16;294(6582):1263–1265. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Rink E, Hilton S, Szczepura A, Fletcher J, Sibbald B, Davies C, Freeling P, Stilwell J. Impact of introducing near patient testing for standard investigations in general practice. BMJ. 1993 Sep 25;307(6907):775–778. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Broughton PM, Bullock DG, Cramb R. Quality of plasma cholesterol measurements in primary care. BMJ. 1989 Feb 4;298(6669):297–298. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

Articles from The British Journal of General Practice are provided here courtesy of Royal College of General Practitioners