Improving the quality of care for patients living with a chronic illness is a key policy goal. Alongside systems to ensure care is delivered according to evidence-based guidelines, an essential component of these new models of care is the facilitation of self-management. However, changes to the way professionals deliver care is complex, and it is important to understand the key drivers and barriers that may operate in the primary care setting.
To explore GPs' perspectives on their involvement in the facilitation of chronic disease self-management.
Design of study
General practices located in two primary care trusts in northern England.
Data were collected through in-depth, semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of GPs. During analysis, categories of response were organised into themes that relate to Howie's theoretical model for understanding general practice consultations: content, values, context.
The GPs' responses highlighted tensions and trade-offs regarding their role in facilitating self-management. Although GPs valued increased patient involvement in their health care, this was in conflict with other values concerning professional responsibility. Furthermore, contextual factors also limited the degree to which they could assist in encouraging self-management.
Providing GPs with training in consultation skills is required in order to encourage the delivery of effective self-management. In addition, the context in which GPs work also needs to be modified for this to be achieved.
chronic disease; family practice; self-care
Background. In the UK, most people with mental health problems are managed in primary care. However, many individuals in need of help are not able to access care, either because it is not available, or because the individual's interaction with care-givers deters or diverts help-seeking. Aims. To understand the experience of seeking care for distress from the perspective of potential patients from “hard-to-reach” groups. Methods. A qualitative study using semi-structured interviews, analysed using a thematic framework. Results. Access to primary care is problematic in four main areas: how distress is conceptualised by individuals, the decision to seek help, barriers to help-seeking, and navigating and negotiating services. Conclusion. There are complex reasons why people from “hard-to-reach” groups may not conceptualise their distress as a biomedical problem. In addition, there are particular barriers to accessing primary care when distress is recognised by the person and help-seeking is attempted. We suggest how primary care could be more accessible to people from “hard-to-reach” groups including the need to offer a flexible, non-biomedical response to distress.
The North American model of 'advanced access' has been emulated by the National Primary Care Collaborative in the UK as a way of improving patients' access in primary care. The aim of this study was to explore the impact of the implementation of advanced access on the working lives of general practice staff.
A qualitative study design, using semi-structured interviews, was conducted with 18 general practice staff: 6 GPs, 6 practice managers and 6 receptionists. Two neighbouring boroughs in southeast England were used as the study sites. NUD*IST computer software assisted in data management to identify concepts, categories and themes of the data. A framework approach was used to analyse the data.
Whilst practice managers and receptionists saw advanced access as having a positive effect on their working lives, the responses of general practitioners (GPs) were more ambivalent. Receptionists reported improvements in their working lives with a change in their role from gatekeepers for appointments to providing access to appointments, fewer confrontations with patients, and greater job satisfaction. Practice managers perceived reductions in work stress from fewer patient complaints, better use of time, and greater flexibility for contingency planning. GPs recognised benefits in terms of improved consultations, but had concerns about the impact on workload and continuity of care.
AA has improved working conditions for receptionists, converting their perceived role from gatekeeper to access facilitator, and for practice managers as patients were more satisfied. GP responses were more ambivalent, as they experienced both positive and negative effects.
To examine how practice constraints contribute to barriers in the health care of persons with dementia and their families, particularly with respect to behavioral aspects of care.
Cross-sectional qualitative interview study of primary care physicians.
Forty primary care physicians in Northern California.
Open-ended interviews lasted 30–60 minutes and were structured by an interview guide covering clinician background and practice setting, clinical care of a particular patient, and general approach to managing patients with AD or dementia. Interviews were transcribed and themes reflecting constraints of practice were identified through a systematic coding process.
Recurring themes (i.e., those present in ≥25% of physician interviews) included insufficient time, difficulty in accessing and communicating with specialists, low reimbursement, poor connections with community social service agencies, and lack of interdisciplinary teams. Physician narratives suggest that these constraints may lead to delayed detection of behavior problems, “reactive” as opposed to proactive management of dementia, and increased reliance on pharmacological rather than psychosocial approaches.
Physicians often feel challenged in caring for dementia patients, particularly those who are more behaviorally complex, because of time and reimbursement constraints as well as other perceived barriers. Our results suggest that more effective educational interventions (for families and physicians) and broader structural changes are needed to better meet the needs of the elderly with dementia and their families now and in the future. Without these changes, dementia care is likely to continue to fall short.
dementia; quality of care; barriers; qualitative
To examine the barriers to, and facilitators in, improving diabetes management from the general practice perspective, in advance of the implementation of an integrated model of care in Ireland.
Qualitative using semistructured interviews.
Primary care in the Republic of Ireland.
Purposive sample of 29 general practitioners (GPs) and two practice nurses.
Data were analysed using a framework approach.
The main barriers and facilitators occurred at the level of the health system but had a ripple effect at an organisational, professional and patient level. The lack of targeted remuneration for diabetes management in the Irish health system created apathy in general practice and was perceived to be indicative of the lack of value placed on chronic disease management in the health system. There were ‘pockets of interest’ among GPs motivated by ‘vocational’ incentives such as a sense of professional duty; however, this was not sufficient to drive widespread improvement. The hospital service was seen as an essential support for primary care management, although some participants referred to emerging tension between settings. The lack of coordination at the primary–secondary interface resulted in avoidable duplication and an ‘in the meantime’ period of uncertainty around when patients would be called or recalled by specialist services. Facilitators included the availability of nursing support and serendipitous access to services. The lack of resources in the community was considered to be at odds with policy to shift routine management to general practice, which is fast reaching saturation.
At present, intrinsic motivation is driving the improvement of diabetes care in Ireland. This will not be sufficient to implement the proposed reform including a national model of integrated care. Policymakers need to assess and prepare for the disparate levels of interest and infrastructure in primary care in Ireland to support this change.
PRIMARY CARE; DIABETES & ENDOCRINOLOGY
BACKGROUND: The 1993 chronic disease management contract encourages United Kingdom general practices to implement a standardised package of care with an emphasis on regular visits to an asthma clinic. AIM: To explore the views of people with asthma about the organisation of asthma care in general practice. METHOD: Semi-structured interviews with 20 patients registered with one practice with a nurse-run asthma clinic. The sample was selected to provide people with a wide range of ages and disease severity, and included parents of children. RESULTS: The age range of the interviewees was five to 87 years (parents of children were interviewed) and half of the interviewees had attended the asthma clinic at some time. In describing how they managed their asthma, people identified their medical care alongside other important factors, such as avoiding smoking and pollution, and a decision to seek medical help was made in the context of all of life's other priorities. People expressed diverse views about the organisation of care, describing how their needs changed over time and how they balanced up several factors in deciding what was best for them. These factors were encompassed by four themes: the accessibility of care, severity of asthma and dealing with uncertainty, self-knowledge and self-management, and expert knowledge and therapeutic relationships. Interviewees were evenly split between wishing to be seen regularly in the clinic and wishing only to attend when needing help. CONCLUSION: Patients required asthma services that allow individual choice and flexibility, and eight service objectives were identified that would cover most people's needs.
Chronic pelvic pain (CPP) has a prevalence similar to asthma and chronic back pain, but little is known about how general practitioners (GPs) and practice nurses manage women with this problem. A clearer understanding of current management is necessary to develop appropriate strategies, in keeping with current health care policy, for the supported self-management of patients with long term conditions. The aim of this study was to explore GPs' and practice nurses' understanding and perspectives on the management of chronic pelvic pain.
Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 21 GPs and 20 practice nurses, in three primary care trusts in the North West of England. Data were analysed using the principles of Framework analysis.
Analysis suggests that women who present with CPP pose a challenge to GPs and practice nurses. CPP is not necessarily recognized as a diagnostic label and making the diagnosis was achieved only by exclusion. This contrasts with the relative acceptability of labels such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). GPs expressed elements of therapeutic nihilism about the condition. Despite practice nurses taking on increasing responsibilities for the management of patients with long term conditions, respondents did not feel that CPP was an area that they were comfortable in managing.
The study demonstrates an educational/training need for both GPs and practice nurses. GPs described a number of skills and clinical competencies which could be harnessed to develop a more targeted management strategy. There is potential to develop facilitated self- management for use in this patient group, given that this approach has been successful in patients with similar conditions such as IBS.
New Zealand has higher mortality and hospital admission rates for asthma than England and Wales. To determine the reasons for this the available data on asthma mortality and hospital admissions from the Auckland region of New Zealand were compared with data from the South West Thames Region of England for 1979-86 and data from previous surveys on prevalence of wheeze (Auckland 1985, Croydon 1978). In addition, a survey of general practitioners was carried out to determine their approach to the management of asthma, patient simulations being used. Asthma mortality in children of European descent aged 5-14 years was 2.5 times higher in Auckland than in South West Thames. The reported lifetime, 12 month, and one month prevalences of wheeze were also higher in Auckland (by 18.5%, 32.1%, and 87.5%). Unexpectedly, the hospital admission rate for asthma in children of European descent aged 5-14 years was 5% less in Auckland than in South West Thames. Comparative studies of hospital case notes and of the replies from general practitioners showed that in Auckland the duration of illness before admission was greater and that general practitioners were less likely to admit patients with acute asthma. The overall standard of general practitioner care in Auckland was, if anything, higher than in South West Thames but in both areas there was considerable variation. On balance it was concluded that the higher mortality rate in New Zealand is explained by higher levels of morbidity rather than relative deficiencies in care. Nevertheless, the implications of the lesser use of hospital care for acute asthma observed in Auckland need further consideration.
Asthma outcomes are generally worse for ethnic minority children. Cultural competence training is an instrument for improving healthcare for ethnic minority patients. To develop effective training, we explored the mechanisms in paediatric asthma care for ethnic minority patients that lead to deficiencies in the care process.
We conducted semi-structured interviews on care for ethnic minority children with asthma (aged 4-10 years) with paediatricians (n = 13) and nurses (n = 3) in three hospitals. Interviews were analysed qualitatively with a framework method, using a cultural competence model.
Respondents mentioned patient non-adherence as the central problem in asthma care. They related non-adherence in children from ethnic minority backgrounds to social context factors, difficulties in understanding the chronic nature of asthma, and parents’ language barriers. Reactions reported by respondents to patients’ non-adherence included retrieving additional information, providing biomedical information, occasionally providing referrals for social context issues, and using informal interpreters.
This study provides keys to improve the quality of specialist paediatric asthma care to ethnic minority children, mainly related to non-adherence. Care providers do not consciously recognise all the mechanisms that lead to deficiencies in culturally competent asthma care they provide to ethnic minority children (e.g. communicating mainly from a biomedical perspective and using mostly informal interpreters). Therefore, the learning objectives of cultural competence training should reflect issues that care providers are aware of as well as issues they are unaware of.
Coordinated, interdisciplinary services, supported by self-management underpin effective management for chronic low back pain (CLBP). However, a combination of system, provider and consumer-based barriers exist which limit the implementation of such models into practice, particularly in rural areas where unique access issues exist. In order to improve health service delivery for consumers with CLBP, policymakers and service providers require a more in depth understanding of these issues. The objective of this qualitative study was to explore barriers experienced by consumers in rural settings in Western Australia (WA) to accessing information and services and implementing effective self-management behaviours for CLBP.
Fourteen consumers with a history of CLBP from three rural sites in WA participated. Maximum variation sampling was employed to ensure a range of experiences were captured. An interviewer, blinded to quantitative pain history data, conducted semi-structured telephone interviews using a standardised schedule to explore individuals’ access to information and services for CLBP, and self-management behaviours. Interviews were digitally recorded and transcribed verbatim. Inductive analysis techniques were used to derive and refine key themes.
Five key themes were identified that affected individuals’ experiences of managing CLBP in a rural setting, including: 1) poor access to information and services in rural settings; 2) inadequate knowledge and skills among local practitioners; 3) feelings of isolation and frustration; 4) psychological burden associated with CLBP; and 5) competing lifestyle demands hindering effective self-management for CLBP.
Consumers in rural WA experienced difficulties in knowing where to access relevant information for CLBP and expressed frustration with the lack of service delivery options to access interdisciplinary and specialist services for CLBP. Competing lifestyle demands such as work and family commitments were cited as key barriers to adopting regular self-management practices. Consumer expectations for improved health service coordination and a workforce skilled in pain management are relevant to future service planning, particularly in the contexts of workforce capacity, community health services, and enablers to effective service delivery in primary care.
Back pain; Qualitative; Education; Policy; Health services; Self-management; Rural
Immunisation coverage in New Zealand is lower than what is necessary to prevent large epidemics of pertussis. Primary care is where most immunisation delivery occurs. General practices vary in their structure and organisation, both in a general sense and specifically with respect to immunisation delivery.
To identify the structural and organisational characteristics of general practices associated with higher immunisation coverage and more timely immunisation delivery.
Design of study
A random sample of practices during 2005 and 2006.
General practices in the Auckland and Midland regions, with over-sampling of indigenous Maori governance practices.
Practice immunisation coverage and timeliness were measured. Primary care practice characteristics relevant to immunisation delivery by the practice were described. Associations of these practice characteristics with higher practice immunisation coverage and more timely immunisation delivery were determined.
A total of 124 (61%) of 205 eligible practices were recruited. A median (25th to 75th centile) of 71% (57–77%) of registered children at each practice were fully immunised, and 56% (40–64%) had no immunisation delay. In multivariate analyses, both practice immunisation coverage (P<0.001) and timeliness (P<0.001) decreased with increased social deprivation. After adjustment for socioeconomic deprivation, region, and governance, immunisation coverage and timeliness were better at practices that enrolled children at a younger age (coverage: P = 0.002; timeliness P = 0.007), used one of the four available practice management systems (coverage: P<0.001; timeliness: P = 0.006), and had no staff shortages (coverage: P = 0.027; timeliness: P = 0.021).
Practice immunisation coverage and timeliness vary widely in New Zealand. General organisational and structural aspects of general practices are key determinants of general practice immunisation delivery.
delivery of health care; family practice; immunisation; primary health care
Primary care is recognised to have an important role in the delivery of care for people with chronic kidney disease (CKD). However, there is evidence that CKD management is currently suboptimal, with a range of practitioner concerns about its management.
To explore processes underpinning the implementation of CKD management in primary care.
Design and setting
Qualitative study in general practices participating in a chronic kidney disease collaborative undertaken as part of the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (CLAHRC) for Greater Manchester.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with GPs and practice nurses (n = 21). Normalisation Process Theory provided a framework for generation and analysis of the data.
A predominant theme was anxiety about the disclosure of early-stage CKD with patients. The tensions experienced related to identifying and discussing CKD in older people and patients with stage 3A, embedding early-stage CKD within vascular care, and the distribution of work within the practice team. Participants provided accounts of work undertaken to resolve the difficulties encountered, with efforts having tended to focus on reassuring patients. Analysis also highlighted how anxiety surrounding disclosure influenced, and was shaped by, the organisation of care for people with CKD and associated long-term conditions.
Offering reassurance alone may be of limited benefit, and current management of early-stage CKD in primary care may miss opportunities to address susceptibility to kidney injury, improve self-management of vascular conditions, and improve the management of multimorbidity.
doctor–patient relations; kidney disease; chronic; normalisation process theory; primary care
To describe structural barriers to mental health specialists and consequences of these barriers to care for patients with dementia and neuropsychological symptoms and their primary care physicians (PCPs).
Cross-sectional qualitative interview study of PCPs.
Physicians’ offices, primarily managed care.
40 PCPs in Northern California.
Open-ended interviews lasted 30–60 minutes. The interview guide covered clinician background, practice setting, clinical care of a particular patient, and general approach to managing patients with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. Interviews were transcribed and themes reflecting referrals identified.
93% of the PCPs described problematic access to and communication with mental health specialists (in particular psychiatrists and neuropsychologists) as impediments to effective care for dementia patients. Thematic analysis identified structural barriers to mental health referrals ranging from problems with managed care and reimbursement policies to lack of trained providers and poor geographic distribution of specialists. Structural barriers compromised care for patients with dementia because the barriers limited PCP treatment options, and resources, impacted office staff and time with other patients, impeded and delayed care, and fostered poor communication and lack of coordinated care. Negative consequences for PCPs included increased frustration, conflict, and burnout.
PCPs viewed problems created by onerous referral systems, such as mental health carve-outs, as particularly burdensome for elderly patients with co-morbid dementia and neuropsychiatric problems. These problems were cited by PCPs across different types of practice settings. PCPs managed treatment of neurobehavioral symptoms as best they could despite lack of specialist support.
Alzheimer’s disease; dementia; managed care; referrals; barriers to care; qualitative; neuropsychiatric symptoms
Recent policy and organisational changes within UK primary care have emphasised graduated access to care, speed of access to the first available general practitioner (GP) and care being provided by a range of healthcare professionals. These trends have been strengthened by the current GP contract and Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF). Concern has been expressed that the potential for personal care is being diminished as a result and that this will reduce quality standards. This paper presents data from a study that explored with patients and GPs what personal care means and whether it has continuing importance to them.
A semi-structured questionnaire was used to interview participants and Framework Analysis supported analysis of emerging themes. Twenty-nine patients, mainly women with young children, and twenty-three GPs were interviewed from seven practices in Lothian, Scotland, ranged by practice size and relative deprivation score.
Results and Discussion
Personal care was defined mainly, though not exclusively, as care given within the context of a continuing relationship in which there is an interpersonal connection and the doctor adopts a particular consultation style. Defined in this way, it was reported to have benefits for both health outcomes and patients' experience of care. In particular, such care was thought to be beneficial in attending to the emotions that can be elicited when seeking and receiving health care and in enabling patients to be known by doctors as legitimate seekers of care from the health service. Its importance was described as being dependent upon the nature of the health problem and patients' wider familial and social circumstances. In particular, it was found to provide support to patients in their parenting and other familial caring roles.
Personal care has continuing salience to patients and GPs in modern primary care in the UK. Patients equate the experience of care, not just outcomes, with high quality care. As it is mainly conceptualised and experienced as care within the context of a continuing relationship, policies and organisational arrangements that support and give incentives to this must be in place. These preferences are not strongly reflected in the QOF. Specific questions need to be addressed by future audit and research on the impact of the contract on these aspects of service.
This study investigated the improvement of interprofessional practice in primary care by performing the first three steps of the implementation model described by Grol et al. This article describes the targets for improvement in a setting for children with complex care needs (step 1), the identification of barriers and facilitators influencing interprofessional practice (step 2), and the development of a tailored interprofessional process model (step 3).
In step 2, thirteen qualitative semistructured interviews were held with several stakeholders, including parents of children, an occupational therapist, a speech and language therapist, a physical therapist, the manager of the team, two general practitioners, a psychologist, and a primary school teacher. The data were analyzed using directed content analysis and using the domains of the Chronic Care Model as a framework. In step 3, a project group was formed to develop helpful strategies, including the development of an interprofessional process through process mapping.
In step 2, it was found that the most important barriers to implementing interprofessional practice related to the lack of structure in the care process. A process model for interprofessional primary care was developed for the target group.
The lack of a shared view of what is involved in the process of interprofessional practice was the most important barrier to its successful implementation. It is suggested that the tailored process developed, supported with the appropriate tools, may provide both professional staff and their clients, in this setting but also in other areas of primary care, with insight to the care process and a clear representation of “who should do what, when, and how.”
process mapping; pediatrics; interprofessional collaboration; implementation
Objective: To develop a framework for understanding factors affecting the use of patient survey data in quality improvement.
Design: Qualitative interviews with senior health professionals and managers and a review of the literature.
Setting: A quality improvement collaborative in Minnesota, USA involving teams from eight medical groups, focusing on how to use patient survey data to improve patient centred care.
Participants: Eight team leaders (medical, clinical improvement or service quality directors) and six team members (clinical improvement coordinators and managers).
Results: Respondents reported three types of barriers before the collaborative: organisational, professional and data related. Organisational barriers included lack of supporting values for patient centred care, competing priorities, and lack of an effective quality improvement infrastructure. Professional barriers included clinicians and staff not being used to focusing on patient interaction as a quality issue, individuals not necessarily having been selected, trained or supported to provide patient centred care, and scepticism, defensiveness or resistance to change following feedback. Data related barriers included lack of expertise with survey data, lack of timely and specific results, uncertainty over the effective interventions or time frames for improvement, and consequent risk of perceived low cost effectiveness of data collection. Factors that appeared to have promoted data use included board led strategies to change culture and create quality improvement forums, leadership from senior physicians and managers, and the persistence of quality improvement staff over several years in demonstrating change in other areas.
Conclusion: Using patient survey data may require a more concerted effort than for other clinical data. Organisations may need to develop cultures that support patient centred care, quality improvement capacity, and to align professional receptiveness and leadership with technical expertise with the data.
BACKGROUND: Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B is the most common cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults. Early recognition and prompt intervention with antibiotics are thought to be key to preventing serious complications. AIM: Explore how general practitioners evaluate and manage febrile children with possible meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia. DESIGN OF THE STUDY: Qualitative study using one-to-one, semi-structured interviews. SETTING: General practices in the Avon Health Authority district. METHOD: Twenty-six general practitioners were purposefully sampled, using a sampling frame to ensure a range of experience and practices in a variety of settings Data management and analysis were conducted using a grounded theory approach. RESULTS: Key themes to emerge were the effect that fear of meningitis has upon parents and general practitioners; the difficulties associated with reaching a diagnosis; and the existence of barriers to the use of guidelines and pre-hospital penicillin. When assessing a febrile child, participating general practitioners rarely thought that meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia were likely, but were aware that this was frequently the principal parental concern. They relied upon intuitive rather than systematic methods to distinguish serious from self-limiting conditions, rarely making a definitive diagnosis. Although concerned about 'missed cases', interviewees doubted that current management could be improved. They questioned the assumption that guidelines could be sufficiently discriminating to be helpful and thought it unlikely that they would be followed in everyday clinical practice. Pre-hospital penicillin was only given if the diagnosis of meningitis or septicaemia was thought to be certain. CONCLUSIONS: There is a substantial gap in perception between primary and secondary care in the diagnostic and management approach to children who may have meningitis or meningococcal septicaemia. Until this is addressed, further attempts to improve early intervention in primary care are unlikely to succeed.
Great importance has been attached to a culture of safe practice in healthcare organisations, but it has proved difficult to engage frontline staff with this complex concept. The present study aimed to develop and test a framework for making the concept of safety culture meaningful and accessible to managers and frontline staff, and facilitating discussion of ways to improve team/organisational safety culture.
Eight primary care trusts and a sample of their associated general practices in north west England.
In phase 1 a comprehensive review of the literature and a postal survey of experts helped identify the key dimensions of safety culture in primary care. Semistructured interviews with 30 clinicians and managers explored the application of these dimensions to an established theory of organisational maturity. In phase 2 the face validity and utility of the framework was assessed in 33 interviews and 14 focus groups.
Nine dimensions were identified through which safety culture is expressed in primary care organisations. Organisational descriptions were developed for how these dimensions might be characterised at five levels of organisational maturity. The resulting framework conceptualises patient safety culture as multidimensional and dynamic, and seems to have a high level of face validity and utility within primary care. It aids clinicians' and managers' understanding of the concept of safety culture and promotes discussion within teams about their safety culture maturity.
The framework moves the agenda on from rhetoric about the importance of safety culture to a way of understanding why and how the shared values of staff working within a healthcare organisation may be operationalised to create a safe environment for patient care.
BACKGROUND: The demand for increased accountability within health care has led to a myriad of government initiatives in the United Kingdom, with the aim of improving care, setting minimum standards, and addressing poor performance. AIM: To assess the quality of care in English general practice in the year 2001 compared with 1998, in terms of access, interpersonal care, and clinical care (chronic disease management, elderly care, and mental health care). DESIGN OF STUDY: Observational study in a purposive sample of general practices in England. SETTING: Twenty-three general practices in England--eight in North Thames, seven in the North West, and eight in the South West. RESULTS: Outcome measures were: quality of chronic disease management (angina, adult asthma and type 2 diabetes from practice questionnaires and medical record review), elderly care and mental health care (from practice questionnaires), access to care, continuity of care and interpersonal care (from practice and patient questionnaires) and costs (mean change in practice budget between 1998 and 2001). There were significant improvements in quality of care in terms of organisational access to services (P = 0.016), practice organisation of chronic disease management (P = 0.039), and the quality of angina care (P = 0.003). There were no significant changes in quality scores for mental health care, elderly care, access and interpersonal care. The mean practice budget rose by 3.4% between 1998 and 2001 (adjusted for inflation). CONCLUSION: These findings provide evidence of improvements in some aspects of the quality of care, achieved at modest cost. This was achieved during a time when the National Health Service was undergoing a series of reforms. However, primary care in England is characterised by variation in care, with significant improvements still possible.
NICE guidelines suggest that patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalitis (CFS/ME) should be managed in Primary Care. Practice Nurses are increasingly being involved in the management of long-term conditions, so are likely to also have a growing role in managing CFS/ME. However their attitudes to, and experiences of patients with CFS/ME and its management must be explored to understand what barriers may exist in developing their role for this group of patients. The aim of this study was to explore Practice Nurses' understanding and beliefs about CFS/ME and its management.
Semi-structured interviews with 29 Practice Nurses. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and an iterative approach used to develop themes from the dataset.
Practice nurses had limited understanding about CFS/ME which had been largely gained through contact with patients, friends, personal experiences and the media rather than formal training. They had difficulty seeing CFS/ME as a long term condition. They did identify a potential role they could have in management of CFS/ME but devalued their own skills in psychological intervention, and suggested counselling would be an appropriate therapeutic option. They recognised a need for further training and on going supervision from both medical and psychological colleagues. Some viewed the condition as contentious and held pejorative views about CFS/ME. Such scepticism and negative attitudes will be a significant barrier to the management of patients with CFS/ME in primary care.
The current role of Practice Nurses in the ongoing management of patients with CFS/ME is limited. Practice Nurses have little understanding of the evidence-base for treatment of CFS/ME, particularly psychological therapies, describing management options in terms of advice giving, self-help or counselling. Practice Nurses largely welcomed the potential development of their role in this area, but identified barriers and training needs which must be addressed to enable them to feel confident managing of patients with this condition. Training must begin by addressing negative attitudes to patients with CFS/ME.
Despite the success of the collaborative care approach on chronic disease outcomes; many patients fail to adopt the behaviors necessary to manage their disease. Goal-setting is an approach to collaborative chronic care that involves the setting of goals for the activation and maintenance of specific self-care behaviors. Using patients' perspectives this study will describe how goals for the self-management of hypertension are developed and whether they conform to the characteristics of effective goal setting.
Qualitative methodology was used to explore the process of setting self-management goals for hypertensive patients. Thirty patients participated in semi-structured interviews based on the deductive framework of goal setting.
Patients understand the risks associated with hypertension, have intentions to control their disease, report conducting at least one self-care task, and set informal goals for themselves; however these goals lack the characteristics needed to initiate and maintain behavior change.
goal setting is applicable to chronic hypertension care. Future studies need to examine ways to minimize barriers to effective goal setting to improve hypertension control.
as part of the process of chronic hypertension care, health care providers should include time and support for dedicated goal setting to improve the effectiveness of self-management behaviors.
Hypertension; Goal Setting; Self-Management
BACKGROUND: It is commony claimed that changing the culture of health organisations is a fundamental prerequisite for improving the National Health Service (NHS). Little is currently known about the nature or importance of culture and cultural change in primary care groups and trusts (PCG/Ts) or their constituent general practices. AIMS: To investigate the importance of culture and cultural change for the implementation of clinical governance in general practice by PCG/Ts, to identify perceived desirable and undesirable cultural attributes of general practice, and to describe potential facilitators and barriers to changing culture. DESIGN: Qualitative: case studies using data derived from semi-structured interviews and review of documentary evidence. SETTING: Fifty senior non-clinical and clinical managers from 12 purposely sampled PCGs or trusts in England. RESULTS: Senior primary care managers regard culture and cultural change as fundamental aspects of clinical governance. The most important desirable cultural traits were the value placed on a commitment to public accountability by the practices, their willingness to work together and learn from each other, and the ability to be self-critical and learn from mistakes. The main barriers to cultural change were the high level of autonomy of practices and the perceived pressure to deliver rapid measurable changes in general practice. CONCLUSIONS: The culture of general practice is perceived to be an important component of health system reform and quality improvement. This study develops our understanding of a changing organisational culture in primary care; however, further work is required to determine whether culture is a useful practical lever for initiating or managing improvement.
Personal continuity is a core value for family practice, but policy and performance targets emphasise other aspects of care, particularly waiting times for consultation. This study examined patient and general practitioner (GP) perceptions of the value of personal continuity and rapid access, and the relationship between them.
Qualitative analysis of semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 16 GPs and 32 patients in the Lothian region of Scotland, to identify whether, how, why and in which circumstances personal continuity and rapid access were valued.
From the patients' perspective, what mattered was 'access to appropriate care' depending on the problem to be dealt with. For a few patients, rapid access was the only priority. For most, rapid access was balanced against greater involvement in the consultation when seeing 'their' trusted doctor, which was particularly valued for chronic, complex and emotional problems. GPs focused on the value of personal continuity in the consultation for improving the diagnosis and management of the same kinds of problem. GPs did not perceive enabling access to be a core part of their work. There was little evidence that GPs routinely discussed with patients when or how personal continuity and access should be balanced.
'Access to appropriate care' from the patients' perspective is not fully addressed by GPs' focus on personal continuity, nor by performance targets focused only on speed of access. GPs need to make enabling access as much a part of their core values as personal continuity, and access targets need to be based on less simplistic measures that account for the appropriateness of care as well as speed of access.
To assess variation in the quality of care in general practice and identify factors associated with high quality care.
Stratified random sample of 60 general practices in six areas of England.
Quality of management of chronic disease (angina, asthma in adults, and type 2 diabetes) and preventive care (rates of uptake for immunisation and cervical smear), access to care, continuity of care, and interpersonal care (general practice assessment survey). Multiple logistic regression with multilevel modelling was used to relate each of the outcome variables to practice size, routine booking interval for consultations, socioeconomic deprivation, and team climate.
Quality of clinical care varied substantially, and access to care, continuity of care, and interpersonal care varied moderately. Scores for asthma, diabetes, and angina were 67%, 21%, and 17% higher in practices with 10 minute booking intervals for consultations compared with practices with five minute booking intervals. Diabetes care was better in larger practices and in practices where staff reported better team climate. Access to care was better in small practices. Preventive care was worse in practices located in socioeconomically deprived areas. Scores for satisfaction, continuity of care, and access to care were higher in practices where staff reported better team climate.
Longer consultation times are essential for providing high quality clinical care. Good teamworking is a key part of providing high quality care across a range of areas and may need specific support if quality of care is to be improved. Additional support is needed to provide preventive care to deprived populations. No single type of practice has a monopoly on high quality care: different types of practice may have different strengths.
What is already known on this topicQuality of care varies in virtually all aspects of medicine that have been studiedMost studies look at quality of care from a single perspective or for a single conditionWhat this study addsQuality of care varies for both clinical care and assessments by patients of access and interpersonal carePractices with longer booking intervals provide better management of chronic disease; preventive care is less good in practices in deprived areasNo single type of practice has a monopoly on high quality care—small practices provide better access but poorer diabetes careGood team climate reported by staff is associated with a range of aspects of high quality care
To explore access to health care for patients presenting with multiple
chronic conditions and to identify barriers and factors conducive to
Qualitative study with focus groups.
Family practice unit in Chicoutimi (Saguenay), Que.
Twenty-five male and female adult patients with at least four chronic
conditions but no cognitive disorders or decompensating conditions.
For this pilot study, only three focus group discussions were held.
The main barriers to accessing follow-up appointments included long waits on
the telephone, automated telephone-answering systems, and needing to attend
at specific times to obtain appointments. The main barriers to specialized
care were long waiting times and the need to get prescriptions and referrals
from family physicians. Factors reported conducive to access included
systematic callbacks and the personal involvement of family physicians. Good
communication between family physicians and specialists was also perceived
to be an important factor in access.
Systematic callbacks, family physicians’ personal efforts to obtain follow-up
visits, and better physician-specialist communication were all suggested as
ways to improve access to care for patients with multiple chronic