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issn:2229-340
1.  REFERRAL FROM PRIMARY CARE TO HOSPITALS IN SAUDI ARABIA: 1) QUALITY OF REFERRAL LETTERS AND FEEDBACK REPORTS 
Background:
Referral between primary care and hospitals is of great importance for patient care and follow-up. This study was conducted because of the importance of the quality of referral letters and feedback reports.
Objectives:
To evaluate the quality of referrals from primary health care (PHC) centers to general hospital in four regions in Saudi Arabia.
Methods:
This was a cross-sectional study of a random sample of referrals from the PHC centers. The first sampling unit was the general hospitals to which the health centers refer. A random sample of health centers was then selected based on their distance from the hospitals. This was followed by randomly selecting 30 referrals from each health center. The referral letters and the corresponding feedback reports were then studied for quality by scoring the components of each. The data was entered in a personal computer using the Stat Pack Gold Statistical Package. The chi-square was used to compare the different scores across the regions and T-test was used to compare the cumulative scores.
Main outcome measures:
The quality of referral letters and feedback reports was defined according to the standardized components using a scoring system.
Results:
The most frequently mentioned items in the referrals were demographic data (100%), specialty referred to (93.3%) and reason for referral (82.7%). Other important items in the feedback reports including the name of the treating physician (81.8%), diagnosis (86.0%), and decision on follow-up (80%) were missing. The quality of referral letters was poor in 23%, with 81% as the corresponding figure for the feedback reports with some variation between the different regions.
Conclusions:
The quality of referral letters and feedback reports is poor and needs to be improved. This can be achieved through implementing the quality assurance programme.
PMCID: PMC3437083  PMID: 23008585
Referral letters; feedback reports; quality; primary care; Saudi Arabia
2.  FUTURE SPECIALTY AND PRACTICE INTENTIONS AMONG SAUDI MEDICAL STUDENTS 
Objective:
The objective of the study is the identification of the specialty intentions, the reason behind that choice and the preferred practice location of the study population.
Methodology:
A cross sectional study was conducted using a self administered questionnaire distributed at the end of the academic year 1994. One hundred and forty nine (149) male and 104 female graduating medical students representing the four medical colleges in Saudi Arabia were included
Results:
The four major clinical specialties were selected by more than half of the students; Internal Medicine (17%), Surgery(16%), Paediatrics (14%) and Obstetrics (11%). Twenty seven percent were not sure of their future career choice. Primary health care was chosen by only 1.6% of the students. More men chose Surgery but more women chose Obstetrics and Ophthalmology.
Discussion:
“Financial incentives”, “no night duties”, “social reasons” and “less responsibilities” were the less frequently mentioned reasons for career choice. The qualifications in view were mostly Canadian Board for 49% of the students and Arab Board for 48% of them. The most frequently preferred locations for postgraduate training were Saudi Arabia (56%) and Canada (40%). The majority intended to practice in hospitals (90%) and in cities (85%).
Conclusion:
The current drastic deficiency of trained Saudi Family Physicians will continue unless targeted strategies to produce more generalists are undertaken.
PMCID: PMC3437160  PMID: 23008554
Specialty choice; Practice location; Medical students; Saudi Arabia

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