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1.  Screening for suicidal thoughts in primary care: the views of patients and general practitioners 
Mental Health in Family Medicine  2008;5(4):229-235.
Background It has been argued that primary care practitioners have an important part to play in the prevention of suicide. However, levels of assessment of risk of suicide among patients treated in this setting are generally low.
Methods Cross-sectional survey of general practitioners (GPs) and people being treated in primary care who had signs of depression. The study combined open and closed questions on attitudes to screening or being screened for suicidal ideation.
Results One hundred and one of 132 patients took part in the survey and 103 of 300 GPs completed a questionnaire. A majority of both GPs and patients stated that people should be screened for suicidal ideation. However, an important minority of patients and GPs stated that asking or being asked such questions made them feel uncomfortable. Less than half of GPs had received formal training on the assessment of suicide risk. GPs told the researchers that barriers to screening included time pressures, culture and language, and concerns about the impact that screening could have on people's mental health. One-quarter of GPs and one-fifth of patients supported the notion that screening for suicidal ideation could induce a person to have thoughts of self-harm.
Conclusions GPs and family doctors should screen for suicidal risk among depressed patients and should receive training on how to do this as part of their general training in the assessment and management of mental disorders. Research should be conducted to examine what, if any, effect screening for suicidal ideation has on mental health.
PMCID: PMC2777583  PMID: 22477874
primary care; screening; suicide
2.  Minimising barriers to dental care in older people 
BMC Oral Health  2008;8:7.
Background
Older people are increasingly retaining their natural teeth but at higher risk of oral disease with resultant impact on their quality of life. Socially deprived people are more at risk of oral disease and yet less likely to take up care. Health organisations in England and Wales are exploring new ways to commission and provide dental care services in general and for vulnerable groups in particular. This study was undertaken to investigate barriers to dental care perceived by older people in socially deprived inner city area where uptake of care was low and identify methods for minimising barriers in older people in support of oral health.
Methods
A qualitative dual-methodological approach, utilising both focus groups and individual interviews, was used in this research. Participants, older people and carers of older people, were recruited using purposive sampling through day centres and community groups in the inner city boroughs of Lambeth, Southwark and Lewisham in South London. A topic guide was utilised to guide qualitative data collection. Informants' views were recorded on tape and in field notes. The data were transcribed and analysed using Framework Methodology.
Results
Thirty-nine older people and/or their carers participated in focus groups. Active barriers to dental care in older people fell into five main categories: cost, fear, availability, accessibility and characteristics of the dentist. Lack of perception of a need for dental care was a common 'passive barrier' amongst denture wearers in particular. The cost of dental treatment, fear of care and perceived availability of dental services emerged to influence significantly dental attendance. Minimising barriers involves three levels of action to be taken: individual actions (such as persistence in finding available care following identification of need), system changes (including reducing costs, improving information, ensuring appropriate timing and location of care, and good patient management) and societal issues (such as reducing isolation and loneliness). Older people appeared to place greater significance on system and societal change than personal action.
Conclusion
Older people living within the community in an inner city area where NHS dental care is available face barriers to dental care. Improving access to care involves actions at individual, societal and system level. The latter includes appropriate management of older people by clinicians, policy change to address NHS charges; consideration of when, where and how dental care is provided; and clear information for older people and their carers on available local dental services, dental charges and care pathways.
doi:10.1186/1472-6831-8-7
PMCID: PMC2335092  PMID: 18366785

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