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1.  Depression predicts future emergency hospital admissions in primary care patients with chronic physical illness 
More than 15 million people currently suffer from a chronic physical illness in England. The objective of this study was to determine whether depression is independently associated with prospective emergency hospital admission in patients with chronic physical illness.
1860 primary care patients in socially deprived areas of Manchester with at least one of four exemplar chronic physical conditions completed a questionnaire about physical and mental health, including a measure of depression. Emergency hospital admissions were recorded using GP records for the year before and the year following completion of the questionnaire.
The numbers of patients who had at least one emergency admission in the year before and the year after completion of the questionnaire were 221/1411 (15.7%) and 234/1398 (16.7%) respectively. The following factors were independently associated with an increased risk of prospective emergency admission to hospital: having no partner (OR 1.49, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.15); having ischaemic heart disease (OR 1.60, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.46); having a threatening experience (OR 1.16, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.29); depression (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.04 to 2.40); and emergency hospital admission in the year prior to questionnaire completion (OR 3.41, 95% CI 1.98 to 5.86).
To prevent potentially avoidable emergency hospital admissions, greater efforts should be made to detect and treat co-morbid depression in people with chronic physical illness in primary care, with a particular focus on patients who have no partner, have experienced threatening life events, and have had a recent emergency hospital admission.
•Depression significantly predicts prospective emergency hospital admissions over 12 months.•Severe depression increases the likelihood of emergency hospital admissions by more than two fold.•Emergency admission in the previous 12 months increases the risk of admission by 3 and a half times.•Having no partner, heart disease and threatening experiences also predict emergency admissions.
PMCID: PMC4796037  PMID: 26919799
Depression; Chronic physical illness; Chronic physical illness; Urgent care; Hospital admission; Primary care
2.  The epidemiology of self-harm in a UK-wide primary care patient cohort, 2001–2013 
BMC Psychiatry  2016;16:53.
Most of the research conducted on people who harm themselves has been undertaken in secondary healthcare settings. Little is known about the frequency of self-harm in primary care patient populations. This is the first study to describe the epidemiology of self-harm presentations to primary care using broadly representative national data from across the United Kingdom (UK).
Using the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD), we calculated directly standardised rates of incidence and annual presentation during 2001–2013. Rates were compared by gender and age and across the nations of the UK, and also by degree of socioeconomic deprivation measured ecologically at general practice level.
We found significantly elevated rates in females vs. males for incidence (rate ratio - RR, 1.45, 95 % confidence interval - CI, 1.42-1.47) and for annual presentation (RR 1.56, CI 1.54–1.58). An increasing trend over time in incidence was apparent for males (P < 0.001) but not females (P = 0.08), and both genders exhibited rising temporal trends in presentation rates (P < 0.001). We observed a decreasing gradient of risk with increasing age and markedly elevated risk for females in the youngest age group (aged 15–24 years vs. all other females: RR 3.75, CI 3.67–3.83). Increasing presentation rates over time were observed for males across all age bands (P < 0.001). We found higher rates when comparing Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales with England, and increasing rates of presentation over time for all four nations. We also observed higher rates with increasing levels of deprivation - most vs. least deprived male patients: RR 2.17, CI 2.10–2.25.
Incorporating data from primary care yields a more comprehensive quantification of the health burden of self-harm. These novel findings may be useful in informing public health programmes and the targeting of high-risk groups toward the ultimate goal of lowering risk of self-harm repetition and premature death in this population.
PMCID: PMC4770684  PMID: 26923884
Self-harm; Attempted suicide; Primary health care; Socioeconomic status; Epidemiology
3.  Evaluating a complex model designed to increase access to high quality primary mental health care for under-served groups: a multi-method study 
Many people with mental distress are disadvantaged because care is not available or does not address their needs. In order to increase access to high quality primary mental health care for under-served groups, we created a model of care with three discrete elements: community engagement, primary care training and tailored wellbeing interventions. We have previously demonstrated the individual impact of each element of the model. Here we assess the effectiveness of the combined model in increasing access to and improving the quality of primary mental health care. We test the assumptions that access to the wellbeing interventions is increased by the presence of community engagement and primary care training; and that quality of primary mental health care is increased by the presence of community engagement and the wellbeing interventions.
We implemented the model in four under-served localities in North-West England, focusing on older people and minority ethnic populations. Using a quasi-experimental design with no-intervention comparators, we gathered a combination of quantitative and qualitative information. Quantitative information, including referral and recruitment rates for the wellbeing interventions, and practice referrals to mental health services, was analysed descriptively. Qualitative information derived from interview and focus group responses to topic guides from more than 110 participants. Framework analysis was used to generate findings from the qualitative data.
Access to the wellbeing interventions was associated with the presence of the community engagement and the primary care training elements. Referrals to the wellbeing interventions were associated with community engagement, while recruitment was associated with primary care training. Qualitative data suggested that the mechanisms underlying these associations were increased awareness and sense of agency. The quality of primary mental health care was enhanced by information gained from our community mapping activities, and by the offer of access to the wellbeing interventions. There were variable benefits from health practitioner participation in community consultative groups. We also found that participation in the wellbeing interventions led to increased community engagement.
We explored the interactions between elements of a multilevel intervention and identified important associations and underlying mechanisms. Further research is needed to test the generalisability of the model.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials, reference ISRCTN68572159. Registered 25 February 2013.
PMCID: PMC4756439  PMID: 26883118
Access; Quality; Under-served; Mental health; Multi-level intervention; Community; Primary care; Wellbeing
4.  “I'm Managing My Diabetes between Two Worlds”: Beliefs and Experiences of Diabetes Management in British South Asians on Holiday in the East—A Qualitative Study 
Journal of Diabetes Research  2015;2016:5436174.
Background. Diabetes is disproportionately high among British South Asians compared to the general UK population. Whilst the migrant British South Asians group has received most attention on research related to diabetes management, little consideration has been given to impact of travel back to the East. This study aimed to explore the role of social networks and beliefs about diabetes in British South Asians, to better understand their management behaviours whilst holidaying in the East. Methods. Semistructured interviews were conducted in Greater Manchester. Forty-four participants were recruited using random and purposive sampling techniques. Interviews were analysed thematically using a constant comparison approach. Results. Migrant British South Asians expressed a strong preference to be in a hot climate; they felt they had a healthier lifestyle in the East and often altered or abandoned their diabetes medication. Information acquisition on diabetes and availability of social networks in the East was valued. Conclusion. Social networks in the East are a valued source of information and support for diabetes. The lack of adherence to medication whilst abroad suggests that some migrant British South Asians have a poor understanding of diabetes. Future research needs to explore whether patients are seeking professional advice on diabetes management prior to their extended holiday.
PMCID: PMC4677201  PMID: 26697499
5.  Introducing case management for people with dementia in primary care: a mixed-methods study 
The British Journal of General Practice  2014;64(628):e735-e741.
Case management may be a feasible solution to the problem of service fragmentation for people with dementia.
To adapt a US model of primary care-based case management for people with dementia and test it in general practice.
Design and setting
Mixed-methodology case studies of case management implementation in four general practices: one rural, one inner-city, and two urban practices. Practice nurses undertook the case manager role in the rural and inner-city practices, and were allocated one session per week for case management by their practices. A seconded social worker worked full time for the two urban practices.
Participants were community-dwelling patients with dementia who were living at home with a family carer, and who were not receiving specialist care coordination. Case study methods included analysis of case loads and interviews with patients, carers, local NHS and other stakeholders, and case managers. Measures included numbers of patients with dementia and their carers, number of unmet needs identified, and actions taken to meet needs. Case manager records were compared with findings from interviews with patients and carers, and with other stakeholders.
The number of eligible patients was smaller than expected. No practice achieved its recruitment target. Researchers identified more unmet needs than case managers. The practice nurse case managers reported lack of time and found research documentation burdensome. Patients and carers were positive about case management as a first point of contact with the practice, as a ‘safety net’, and for creating a one-to-one therapeutic relationship.
Further investigation is required before case management for people with dementia and their carers can be implemented in primary care.
PMCID: PMC4220234  PMID: 25348998
carers; case management; case studies; dementia; general practice; nursing, practice
6.  Revealing hidden depression in older people: a qualitative study within a randomised controlled trial 
BMC Family Practice  2015;16:142.
The prevalence of depressive symptoms in older people may be as high as 20 %. Depression in older people is associated with loss, loneliness and physical co-morbidities; it is known to be under-diagnosed and under-treated. Older people may find it difficult to speak to their GPs about low mood, and GPs may avoid identifying depression due to limited consultation time and referral options for older patients.
A nested qualitative study in a randomised controlled trial for older people with moderate to severe depression: the CASPER Plus Trial (Collaborative Care for Screen Positive Elders). We interviewed GPs, case managers (CM) and patient participants to explore perspectives and experiences of delivering and receiving a psychosocial intervention, developed specifically for older adults in primary care, within a collaborative care framework. Transcripts were analysed thematically using principles of constant comparison.
Thirty three interviews were conducted and, across the three data-sets, four main themes were identified: revealing hidden depression, reducing the ‘blind spots’, opportunity to talk outside the primary care consultation and ‘moving on’ from depression.
Depression in older people is commonly hidden, and may coexist with physical conditions that are prioritised by both patients and GPs. Being invited to participate in a trial about depression may allow older people to disclose their feelings, name the problem, and seek help. Offering older people an opportunity to talk outside the primary care consultation is valued by patients and GPs. A psychosocial intervention delivered by a case manager in the primary care setting may fill the gap in the care of older people with depression.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN45842879.
PMCID: PMC4617777  PMID: 26481581
Depression; Older people; Collaborative care; Primary care; Qualitative method
7.  The triple whammy anxiety depression and osteoarthritis in long-term conditions 
BMC Family Practice  2015;16:163.
Improving the management of people with long-term conditions is a key priority of the UK National Health Service. Whilst the coexistence of two or more long-term conditions in one person is increasingly the norm in primary care, guidelines and delivery of care remain focused on single disease management.
Anxiety, depression and osteoarthritis are frequently comorbid with other long-term conditions and with each other, with up to 70 % of people with anxiety and depression also suffering from chronic pain. The relationships between anxiety, depression and pain are reciprocal, with each predicting and worsening the outcome of the others. Where these conditions occur in the context of other long-term conditions, further reduction in health-related quality of life and poorer clinical outcomes for all comorbid conditions is observed. It therefore follows that optimising the management of one comorbid condition should confer benefit to the other/s. Yet despite this, anxiety, depression and chronic pain are seldom prioritised by either patient or clinician, therefore remaining under-recognised and under-treated.
Case-finding aims to identify and offer timely treatment to individuals with a given disease in a population at risk, therefore offering one possible solution. Yet case-finding is not without its problems, with well-recognised barriers including lack of time, cultural difficulties and inadequate resources and practitioner skills. So whilst the merits of why to actively seek these conditions is clear, how this may be best achieved is not. We explore the potential role of case-finding for anxiety, depression and osteoarthritis-related joint pain in individuals with comorbid long-term conditions, assessing whether adopting an integrated approach to care may allow opportunistic case-finding therefore promoting identification and timely management of these deleterious conditions.
PMCID: PMC4632354  PMID: 26530162
Anxiety; Depression; Osteoarthritis; Long-term conditions; Case-finding; Integrated care
8.  Access to healthcare for long-term conditions in women involved in street-based prostitution: a qualitative study 
BMC Family Practice  2015;16:118.
Women involved in street-based prostitution (SBP) have well-documented health problems specific to their occupation, but access to care for other chronic health problems has not been explored. Primary care is seen as the optimal context to deliver care for people with long-term conditions because it is accessible, efficient, and can tackle inequalities related to socioeconomic deprivation. We aimed to explore the perspectives of women involved in SBP about access to health care for their long-term conditions.
This was a qualitative study with women accessing a third sector organization in North West England. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with sixteen women involved in SBP and accessing support. Data were analysed using the principles of constant comparison and a framework approach.
Women described how they were living with ill health, which they found difficult to manage, and often impacted on their work. Women reported poor access to care and viewed any ensuing consultations in primary care as unsatisfactory.
This study highlights the unmet health needs of women who work in SBP, not just related to their occupation, but due to their co-morbid long-term conditions. Access to primary care was reported to be problematic and interactions with general practitioners not fulfilling their expectations, which impacted on future consultation behaviour. Understanding the health-seeking behaviours and self-management strategies of women involved in SBP with chronic health problems is essential in the design and commissioning of services and may reduce unscheduled care in this under-served group.
PMCID: PMC4559915  PMID: 26338724
9.  Modelling self-management pathways for people with diabetes in primary care 
BMC Family Practice  2015;16:112.
Self-management support to facilitate people with type 2 diabetes to effectively manage their condition is complex to implement. Organisational and system elements operating in relation to providing optimal self-management support in primary care are poorly understood. We have applied operational research techniques to model pathways in primary care to explore and illuminate the processes and points where people struggle to find self-management support.
Primary care clinicians and support staff in 21 NHS general practices created maps to represent their experience of patients’ progress through the system following diagnosis. These were collated into a combined pathway. Following consideration of how patients reduce dependency on the system to become enhanced self-managers, a model was created to show the influences on patients’ pathways to self-management.
Following establishment of diagnosis and treatment, appointment frequency decreases and patient self-management is expected to increase. However, capacity to consistently assess self-management capabilities; provide self-management support; or enhance patient-led self-care activities is missing from the pathways. Appointment frequencies are orientated to bio-medical monitoring rather than increasing the ability to mobilise resources or undertake self-management activities.
The model provides a clear visual picture of the complexities implicated in achieving optimal self-management support. Self-management is quickly hidden from view in a system orientated to treatment delivery rather than to enhancing patient self-management. The model created highlights the limited self-management support currently provided and illuminates points where service change might impact on providing support for self-management. Ensuring professionals are aware of locally available support and people’s existing network support has potential to provide appropriate and timely direction to community facilities and the mobilisation of resources.
PMCID: PMC4557856  PMID: 26330096
11.  Symptom perceptions and help-seeking behaviour prior to lung and colorectal cancer diagnoses: a qualitative study 
Family Practice  2015;32(5):568-577.
Lung and colorectal cancer are common and have high UK mortality rates. Early diagnosis is important in reducing cancer mortality, but the literature on lung and colorectal cancers suggests many people wait for a considerable time before presenting symptoms.
To gain in-depth understanding of patients’ interpretations of symptoms of lung and colorectal cancer prior to diagnosis, and to explore processes leading to help-seeking.
Semi-structured interviews were conducted with patients diagnosed with lung (N = 9) or colorectal (N = 20) cancer within the previous 12 months. Patients were asked about symptoms experienced in the period preceding diagnosis, their interpretations of symptoms, and decision making for help-seeking. Thematic analysis was conducted and comparisons drawn within and across the patient groups.
Patients were proactive and rational in addressing symptoms; many developed alternative, non-cancer explanations based on their knowledge and experience. Discussions with important others frequently provided the impetus to consult, but paradoxically others often initially reinforced alternative explanations. Fear and denial did not emerge as barriers to help-seeking, but help-seeking was triggered when patients’ alternative explanations could no longer be maintained, for instance due to persistence or progression of symptoms.
Patients’ reasoning, decision making and interpersonal interactions prior to diagnosis were complex. Prompting patients for additional detail on symptoms within consultations could elicit critical contextual information to aid referral decisions. Findings also have implications for the design of public health campaigns.
PMCID: PMC4576759  PMID: 26099812
Diagnosis; neoplasms; primary health care; qualitative; referral and consultation.
12.  Illness beliefs and the sociocultural context of diabetes self-management in British South Asians: a mixed methods study 
BMC Family Practice  2015;16:58.
British South Asians have a higher incidence of diabetes and poorer health outcomes compared to the general UK population. Beliefs about diabetes are known to play an important role in self-management, yet little is known about the sociocultural context in shaping beliefs. This study aimed to explore the influence of sociocultural context on illness beliefs and diabetes self-management in British South Asians.
A mixed methods approach was used. 67 participants recruited using random and purposive sampling, completed a questionnaire measuring illness beliefs, fatalism, health outcomes and demographics; 37 participants completed a social network survey interview and semi-structured interviews. Results were analysed using SPSS and thematic analysis.
Quantitative data found certain social network characteristics (emotional and illness work) were related to perceived concern, emotional distress and health outcomes (p < 0.05). After multivariate analysis, emotional work remained a significant predictor of perceived concern and emotional distress related to diabetes (p < 0.05). Analysis of the qualitative data suggest that fatalistic attitudes and beliefs influences self-management practices and alternative food ‘therapies’ are used which are often recommended by social networks.
Diabetes-related illness beliefs and self-management appear to be shaped by the sociocultural context. Better understanding of the contextual determinants of behaviour could facilitate the development of culturally appropriate interventions to modify beliefs and support self-management in this population.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12875-015-0269-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4438635  PMID: 25958196
British South Asians; Illness beliefs; Social Networks; Fatalism; Sociocultural; Diabetes; Self-management
13.  Integrated primary care for patients with mental and physical multimorbidity: cluster randomised controlled trial of collaborative care for patients with depression comorbid with diabetes or cardiovascular disease 
Objective To test the effectiveness of an integrated collaborative care model for people with depression and long term physical conditions.
Design Cluster randomised controlled trial.
Setting 36 general practices in the north west of England.
Participants 387 patients with a record of diabetes or heart disease, or both, who had depressive symptoms (≥10 on patient health questionaire-9 (PHQ-9)) for at least two weeks. Mean age was 58.5 (SD 11.7). Participants reported a mean of 6.2 (SD 3.0) long term conditions other than diabetes or heart disease; 240 (62%) were men; 360 (90%) completed the trial.
Interventions Collaborative care included patient preference for behavioural activation, cognitive restructuring, graded exposure, and/or lifestyle advice, management of drug treatment, and prevention of relapse. Up to eight sessions of psychological treatment were delivered by specially trained psychological wellbeing practitioners employed by Improving Access to Psychological Therapy services in the English National Health Service; integration of care was enhanced by two treatment sessions delivered jointly with the practice nurse. Usual care was standard clinical practice provided by general practitioners and practice nurses.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome was reduction in symptoms of depression on the self reported symptom checklist-13 depression scale (SCL-D13) at four months after baseline assessment. Secondary outcomes included anxiety symptoms (generalised anxiety disorder 7), self management (health education impact questionnaire), disability (Sheehan disability scale), and global quality of life (WHOQOL-BREF).
Results 19 general practices were randomised to collaborative care and 20 to usual care; three practices withdrew from the trial before patients were recruited. 191 patients were recruited from practices allocated to collaborative care, and 196 from practices allocated to usual care. After adjustment for baseline depression score, mean depressive scores were 0.23 SCL-D13 points lower (95% confidence interval −0.41 to −0.05) in the collaborative care arm, equal to an adjusted standardised effect size of 0.30. Patients in the intervention arm also reported being better self managers, rated their care as more patient centred, and were more satisfied with their care. There were no significant differences between groups in quality of life, disease specific quality of life, self efficacy, disability, and social support.
Conclusions Collaborative care that incorporates brief low intensity psychological therapy delivered in partnership with practice nurses in primary care can reduce depression and improve self management of chronic disease in people with mental and physical multimorbidity. The size of the treatment effects were modest and were less than the prespecified effect but were achieved in a trial run in routine settings with a deprived population with high levels of mental and physical multimorbidity.
Trial registration ISRCTN80309252.
PMCID: PMC4353275  PMID: 25687344
14.  Managing depression in people with multimorbidity: a qualitative evaluation of an integrated collaborative care model 
BMC Family Practice  2015;16:32.
Patients with comorbid depression and physical health problems have poorer outcomes compared with those with single long term conditions (LTCs), or multiple LTCs without depression. Primary care has traditionally struggled to provide integrated care for this group. Collaborative care can reduce depression in people with LTCs but evidence is largely based on trials conducted in the United States that adopted separate treat to target protocols for physical and mental health. Little is known about whether collaborative care that integrates depression care within the management of LTCs is implementable in UK primary care, and acceptable to patients and health care professionals.
Nested interview study within the COINCIDE trial of collaborative care for patients with depression and diabetes/CHD (ISRCTN80309252). The study was conducted in primary care practices in North West England. Professionals delivering the interventions (nurses, GPs and psychological well-being practitioners) and patients in the intervention arm were invited to participate in semi-structured qualitative interviews.
Based on combined thematic analysis of 59 transcripts, we identified two major themes: 1) Integration: patients and professionals valued collaborative ways of working because it enhanced co-ordination of mental and physical health care and provided a sense that patients’ health was being more holistically managed. 2) Division: patients and professionals articulated a preference for therapeutic and spatial separation between mental and physical health. Patients especially valued a separate space outside of their LTC clinic to discuss their emotional health problems.
The COINCIDE care model, that sought to integrate depression care within the context of LTC management, achieved service level integration but not therapeutic integration. Patients preferred a protected space to discuss mental health issues, and professionals maintained barriers around physical and mental health expertise. Findings therefore suggest that in the context of mental-physical multimorbidity, collaborative care can facilitate access to depression care in ways that overcome stigma and enhance the confidence of multidisciplinary health teams to work together. However, such care models need to be flexible and patient centred to accommodate the needs of patients for whom their depression may be independent of their LTC.
PMCID: PMC4355419  PMID: 25886864
Depression; Collaborative care; Psychological therapy; Integrated care
15.  PICO, PICOS and SPIDER: a comparison study of specificity and sensitivity in three search tools for qualitative systematic reviews 
Qualitative systematic reviews are increasing in popularity in evidence based health care. Difficulties have been reported in conducting literature searches of qualitative research using the PICO search tool. An alternative search tool, entitled SPIDER, was recently developed for more effective searching of qualitative research, but remained untested beyond its development team.
In this article we tested the ‘SPIDER’ search tool in a systematic narrative review of qualitative literature investigating the health care experiences of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Identical search terms were combined into the PICO or SPIDER search tool and compared across Ovid MEDLINE, Ovid EMBASE and EBSCO CINAHL Plus databases. In addition, we added to this method by comparing initial SPIDER and PICO tools to a modified version of PICO with added qualitative search terms (PICOS).
Results showed a greater number of hits from the PICO searches, in comparison to the SPIDER searches, with greater sensitivity. SPIDER searches showed greatest specificity for every database. The modified PICO demonstrated equal or higher sensitivity than SPIDER searches, and equal or lower specificity than SPIDER searches. The modified PICO demonstrated lower sensitivity and greater specificity than PICO searches.
The recommendations for practice are therefore to use the PICO tool for a fully comprehensive search but the PICOS tool where time and resources are limited. Based on these limited findings the SPIDER tool would not be recommended due to the risk of not identifying relevant papers, but has potential due to its greater specificity.
PMCID: PMC4310146  PMID: 25413154
Health care; Users’ experiences; Multiple sclerosis (MS); Research evaluation; Research; Qualitative; Systematic reviews
16.  CASPER plus (CollAborative care in Screen-Positive EldeRs with major depressive disorder): study protocol for a randomised controlled trial 
Trials  2014;15:451.
Depression accounts for the greatest disease burden of all mental health disorders, contributes heavily to healthcare costs, and by 2020 is set to become the second largest cause of global disability. Although 10% to 16% of people aged 65 years and over are likely to experience depressive symptoms, the condition is under-diagnosed and often inadequately treated in primary care. Later-life depression is associated with chronic illness and disability, cognitive impairment and social isolation. With a progressively ageing population it becomes increasingly important to refine strategies to identity and manage depression in older people. Currently, management may be limited to the prescription of antidepressants where there may be poor concordance; older people may lack awareness of psychosocial interventions and general practitioners may neglect to offer this treatment option.
CASPER Plus is a multi-centre, randomised controlled trial of a collaborative care intervention for individuals aged 65 years and over experiencing moderate to severe depression. Selected practices in the North of England identify potentially eligible patients and invite them to participate in the study. A diagnostic interview is carried out and participants with major depressive disorder are randomised to either collaborative care or usual care. The recruitment target is 450 participants.
The intervention, behavioural activation and medication management in a collaborative care framework, has been adapted to meet the complex needs of older people. It is delivered over eight to 10 weekly sessions by a case manager liaising with general practitioners.
The trial aims to evaluate the clinical and cost effectiveness of collaborative care in addition to usual GP care versus usual GP care alone. The primary clinical outcome, depression severity, will be measured with the Patient Health Questionnaire-9 (PHQ-9) at baseline, 4, 12 and 18 months. Cost effectiveness analysis will assess health-related quality of life using the SF-12 and EQ-5D and will examine cost-consequences of collaborative care.
A qualitative process evaluation will be undertaken to explore acceptability, gauge the extent to which the intervention is implemented and to explore sustainability beyond the clinical trial.
Results will add to existing evidence and a positive outcome may lead to the commissioning of this model of service in primary care.
Trial registration
ISRCTN45842879 (24 July 2012).
PMCID: PMC4247639  PMID: 25409776
Depression; Major depressive disorder; Older people; Elderly population; Primary care; Collaborative care; Behavioural activation; Psychosocial interventions; Randomised controlled trial; Cost effectiveness analysis; Process evaluation
17.  Understanding the challenges to implementing case management for people with dementia in primary care in England: a qualitative study using Normalization Process Theory 
Case management has been suggested as a way of improving the quality and cost-effectiveness of support for people with dementia. In this study we adapted and implemented a successful United States’ model of case management in primary care in England. The results are reported elsewhere, but a key finding was that little case management took place. This paper reports the findings of the process evaluation which used Normalization Process Theory to understand the barriers to implementation.
Ethnographic methods were used to explore the views and experiences of case management. Interviews with 49 stakeholders (patients, carers, case managers, health and social care professionals) were supplemented with observation of case managers during meetings and initial assessments with patients. Transcripts and field notes were analysed initially using the constant comparative approach and emerging themes were then mapped onto the framework of Normalization Process Theory.
The primary focus during implementation was on the case managers as isolated individuals, with little attention being paid to the social or organizational context within which they worked. Barriers relating to each of the four main constructs of Normalization Process Theory were identified, with a lack of clarity over the scope and boundaries of the intervention (coherence); variable investment in the intervention (cognitive participation); a lack of resources, skills and training to deliver case management (collective action); and limited reflection and feedback on the case manager role (reflexive monitoring).
Despite the intuitive appeal of case management to all stakeholders, there were multiple barriers to implementation in primary care in England including: difficulties in embedding case managers within existing well-established community networks; the challenges of protecting time for case management; and case managers’ inability to identify, and act on, emerging patient and carer needs (an essential, but previously unrecognised, training need). In the light of these barriers it is unclear whether primary care is the most appropriate setting for case management in England. The process evaluation highlights key aspects of implementation and training to be addressed in future studies of case management for dementia.
PMCID: PMC4232624  PMID: 25409598
Dementia; Case management; Patients; Carers; Primary care; Normalization Process Theory
18.  Implementation of a self-management support approach (WISE) across a health system: a process evaluation explaining what did and did not work for organisations, clinicians and patients 
Implementation of long-term condition management interventions rests on the notion of whole systems re-design, where incorporating wider elements of health care systems are integral to embedding effective and integrated solutions. However, most self-management support (SMS) evaluations still focus on particular elements or outcomes of a sub-system. A randomised controlled trial of a SMS intervention (WISE—Whole System Informing Self-management Engagement) implemented in primary care showed no effect on patient-level outcomes. This paper reports on a parallel process evaluation to ascertain influences affecting WISE implementation at patient, clinical and organisational levels. Normalisation Process Theory (NPT) provided a sensitising background and analytical framework.
A multi-method approach using surveys and interviews with organisational stakeholders, practice staff and trial participants about impact of training and use of tools developed for WISE. Analysis was sensitised by NPT (coherence, cognitive participation, collective action and reflective monitoring). The aim was to identify what worked and what did not work for who and in what context.
Interviews with organisation stakeholders emphasised top-down initiation of WISE by managers who supported innovation in self-management. Staff from 31 practices indicated engagement with training but patchy adoption of WISE tools; SMS was neither prioritised by practices nor fitted with a biomedically focussed ethos, so little effort was invested in WISE techniques. Interviews with 24 patients indicated no awareness of any changes following the training of practice staff; furthermore, they did not view primary care as an appropriate place for SMS.
The results contribute to understanding why SMS is not routinely adopted and implemented in primary care. WISE was not embedded because of the perceived lack of relevance and fit to the ethos and existing work. Enacting SMS within primary care practice was not viewed as a legitimate activity or a professional priority. There was failure to, in principle, engage with and identify patients’ support needs. Policy presumptions concerning SMS appear to be misplaced. Implementation of SMS within the health service does not currently account for patient circumstances. Primary care priorities and support for SMS could be enhanced if they link to patients’ broader systems of implementation networks and resources.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13012-014-0129-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4210530  PMID: 25331942
Process evaluation; Normalisation Process Theory; Self-management support; Long-term conditions; Primary care
19.  Effect of Information and Telephone-Guided Access to Community Support for People with Chronic Kidney Disease: Randomised Controlled Trial 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(10):e109135.
Implementation of self-management support in traditional primary care settings has proved difficult, encouraging the development of alternative models which actively link to community resources. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a common condition usually diagnosed in the presence of other co-morbidities. This trial aimed to determine the effectiveness of an intervention to provide information and telephone-guided access to community support versus usual care for patients with stage 3 CKD.
Methods and Findings
In a pragmatic, two-arm, patient level randomised controlled trial 436 patients with a diagnosis of stage 3 CKD were recruited from 24 general practices in Greater Manchester. Patients were randomised to intervention (215) or usual care (221). Primary outcome measures were health related quality of life (EQ-5D health questionnaire), blood pressure control, and positive and active engagement in life (heiQ) at 6 months. At 6 months, mean health related quality of life was significantly higher for the intervention group (adjusted mean difference = 0.05; 95% CI = 0.01, 0.08) and blood pressure was controlled for a significantly greater proportion of patients in the intervention group (adjusted odds-ratio = 1.85; 95% CI = 1.25, 2.72). Patients did not differ significantly in positive and active engagement in life. The intervention group reported a reduction in costs compared with control.
An intervention to provide tailored information and telephone-guided access to community resources was associated with modest but significant improvements in health related quality of life and better maintenance of blood pressure control for patients with stage 3 CKD compared with usual care. However, further research is required to identify the mechanisms of action of the intervention.
Trial Registration ISRCTN45433299
PMCID: PMC4199782  PMID: 25330169
20.  A motivational intervention for patients with COPD in primary care: qualitative evaluation of a new practitioner role 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:164.
Long-term conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) are growing challenges for health services. Psychosocial co-morbidity is associated with poorer quality of life and greater use of health care in these patients but is often un-diagnosed or inadequately treated in primary care, where most care for these patients is provided. We developed a brief intervention, delivered by ‘liaison health workers’ (LHWs), to address psychosocial needs in the context of an integrated approach to physical and mental health. We report a qualitative study in which we characterize the intervention through the experience of the patients receiving it and examine how it was incorporated into primary care.
Qualitative study using patient and practice staff informants. We audio-recorded interviews with 29 patients offered the intervention (three had declined it or withdrawn) and 13 practice staff (GPs, nurses and administrators). Analysis used a constant comparative approach.
Most patients were enthusiastic about the LHWs, describing the intervention as mobilizing their motivation for self-management. By contrast with other practitioners, patients experienced the LHWs as addressing their needs holistically, being guided by patient needs rather than professional agendas, forming individual relationships with patients and investing in patients and their capacity to change. Practices accommodated and accepted the LHWs, but positioned them as peripheral to and separate from the priority of physical care.
Despite being a short-term intervention, patients described it as having enduring motivational benefits. The elements of the intervention that patients described map onto the key features of motivating interventions described by Self-Determination Theory. We suggest that the LHWs motivated patients to self-management by: (i) respecting patients’ competence to decide on needs and priorities; (ii) forming relationships with patients as individuals; and (iii) fostering patients’ sense of autonomy. While truly integrated primary care for patients with long-term conditions such as COPD remains elusive, existing practice staff might adopt elements of the LHWs’ approach to enhance motivational change in patients with long-term conditions such as COPD.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/1471-2296-15-164) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4286939  PMID: 25284048
Primary care; Long-term conditions; Qualitative research; Motivational change; Psychosocial intervention
21.  Optimising primary care for people with dementia 
Mental Health in Family Medicine  2013;10(3):143-151.
This review considers key areas in primary care regarding the diagnosis of dementia. Issues surrounding assessment, policy and incentives are considered. In addition, the relevance of non-medication approaches for dementia in primary care, which aim to enhance or maintain quality of life by maximising psychological and social function in the context of existing disabilities, is deliberated. Finally, key issues about primary care medication management are considered, and relevant therapeutic strategies with recommendation for a collaborative approach that improve outcomes by linking primary and secondary healthcare services – including general practice and pharmacy – with social care needs are weighed up. A key aspect of such a collaborative approach is to support informal carers in optimising medication.
PMCID: PMC3822661  PMID: 24427181
dementia; diagnosis; medication; primary care; psychosocial
22.  Cost-Effectiveness of Collaborative Care for Depression in UK Primary Care: Economic Evaluation of a Randomised Controlled Trial (CADET) 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(8):e104225.
Collaborative care is an effective treatment for the management of depression but evidence on its cost-effectiveness in the UK is lacking.
To assess the cost-effectiveness of collaborative care in a UK primary care setting.
An economic evaluation alongside a multi-centre cluster randomised controlled trial comparing collaborative care with usual primary care for adults with depression (n = 581). Costs, quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), and incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (ICER) were calculated over a 12-month follow-up, from the perspective of the UK National Health Service and Personal Social Services (i.e. Third Party Payer). Sensitivity analyses are reported, and uncertainty is presented using the cost-effectiveness acceptability curve (CEAC) and the cost-effectiveness plane.
The collaborative care intervention had a mean cost of £272.50 per participant. Health and social care service use, excluding collaborative care, indicated a similar profile of resource use between collaborative care and usual care participants. Collaborative care offered a mean incremental gain of 0.02 (95% CI: –0.02, 0.06) quality-adjusted life-years over 12 months, at a mean incremental cost of £270.72 (95% CI: –202.98, 886.04), and resulted in an estimated mean cost per QALY of £14,248. Where costs associated with informal care are considered in sensitivity analyses collaborative care is expected to be less costly and more effective, thereby dominating treatment as usual.
Collaborative care offers health gains at a relatively low cost, and is cost-effective compared with usual care against a decision-maker willingness to pay threshold of £20,000 per QALY gained. Results here support the commissioning of collaborative care in a UK primary care setting.
PMCID: PMC4133193  PMID: 25121991
23.  Development and evaluation of culturally sensitive psychosocial interventions for under-served people in primary care 
BMC Psychiatry  2014;14:217.
Psychological therapy is effective for symptoms of mental distress, but many groups with high levels of mental distress face significant barriers in terms of access to care, as current interventions may not be sensitive to their needs or their understanding of mental health. There is a need to develop forms of psychological therapy that are acceptable to these groups, feasible to deliver in routine settings, and clinically and cost effective.
We developed a culturally sensitive wellbeing intervention with individual, group and sign-posting elements, and tested its feasibility and acceptability for patients from ethnic minorities and older people in an exploratory randomised trial.
We recruited 57 patients (57% of our target) from 4 disadvantaged localities in the NW of England. The results of the exploratory trial suggest that the group receiving the wellbeing interventions improved compared to the group receiving usual care. For elders, the largest effects were on CORE-OM and PHQ-9. For ethnic minority patients, the largest effect was on PHQ-9. Qualitative data suggested that patients found the intervention acceptable, both in terms of content and delivery.
This exploratory trial provides some evidence of the efficacy and acceptability of a wellbeing intervention for older and ethnic minority groups experiencing anxiety and depression, although challenges in recruitment and engagement remain. Evidence from our exploratory study of wellbeing interventions should inform new substantive trial designs.
Trial registration
Current controlled trials ISRCTN68572159
PMCID: PMC4149271  PMID: 25085447
24.  Facilitating professional liaison in collaborative care for depression in UK primary care; a qualitative study utilising normalisation process theory 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:78.
Collaborative care (CC) is an organisational framework which facilitates the delivery of a mental health intervention to patients by case managers in collaboration with more senior health professionals (supervisors and GPs), and is effective for the management of depression in primary care. However, there remains limited evidence on how to successfully implement this collaborative approach in UK primary care. This study aimed to explore to what extent CC impacts on professional working relationships, and if CC for depression could be implemented as routine in the primary care setting.
This qualitative study explored perspectives of the 6 case managers (CMs), 5 supervisors (trial research team members) and 15 general practitioners (GPs) from practices participating in a randomised controlled trial of CC for depression. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and data was analysed using a two-step approach using an initial thematic analysis, and a secondary analysis using the Normalisation Process Theory concepts of coherence, cognitive participation, collective action and reflexive monitoring with respect to the implementation of CC in primary care.
Supervisors and CMs demonstrated coherence in their understanding of CC, and consequently reported good levels of cognitive participation and collective action regarding delivering and supervising the intervention. GPs interviewed showed limited understanding of the CC framework, and reported limited collaboration with CMs: barriers to collaboration were identified. All participants identified the potential or experienced benefits of a collaborative approach to depression management and were able to discuss ways in which collaboration can be facilitated.
Primary care professionals in this study valued the potential for collaboration, but GPs’ understanding of CC and organisational barriers hindered opportunities for communication. Further work is needed to address these organisational barriers in order to facilitate collaboration around individual patients with depression, including shared IT systems, facilitating opportunities for informal discussion and building in formal collaboration into the CC framework.
Trial registration
ISRCTN32829227 30/9/2008.
PMCID: PMC4030004  PMID: 24885746
25.  Aiming to improve the quality of primary mental health care: developing an intervention for underserved communities 
BMC Family Practice  2014;15:68.
The purpose of the study was to improve the quality of primary mental healthcare in underserved communities through involvement with the wider primary care team members and local community agencies.
We developed training intended for all GP practice staff which included elements of knowledge transfer, systems review and active linking. Seven GP Practices in four localities (North West England, UK) took part in the training. Qualitative evaluation was conducted using thirteen semi-structured interviews and two focus groups in six of the participating practices; analysis used principles of Framework Analysis.
Staff who had engaged with the training programme reported increased awareness, recognition and respect for the needs of patients from under-served communities. We received reports of changes in style and content of interactions, particularly amongst receptionists, and evidence of system change. In addition, the training program increased awareness of – and encouraged signposting to - community agencies within the practice locality.
This study demonstrates how engaging with practices and delivering training in a changing health care system might best be attempted. The importance of engaging with community agencies is clear, as is the use of the AMP model as a template for further research.
PMCID: PMC4004464  PMID: 24741996
Mental health; Underserved populations; Primary care

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