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    ABSTRACT: The language used by National Health Service (NHS) "commissioning" managers when discussing their roles and responsibilities can be seen as a manifestation of "identity work", defined as a process of identifying. This paper aims to offer a novel approach to analysing "identity work" by triangulation of multiple analytical methods, combining analysis of the content of text with analysis of its form. Fairclough's discourse analytic methodology is used as a framework. Following Fairclough, the authors use analytical methods associated with Halliday's systemic functional linguistics. While analysis of the content of interviews provides some information about NHS Commissioners' perceptions of their roles and responsibilities, analysis of the form of discourse that they use provides a more detailed and nuanced view. Overall, the authors found that commissioning managers have a higher level of certainty about what commissioning is not rather than what commissioning is; GP managers have a high level of certainty of their identity as a GP rather than as a manager; and both GP managers and non-GP managers oscillate between multiple identities depending on the different situations they are in. This paper offers a novel approach to triangulation, based not on the usual comparison of multiple data sources, but rather based on the application of multiple analytical methods to a single source of data. This paper also shows the latent uncertainty about the nature of commissioning enterprise in the English NHS.
    Journal of Health Organisation and Management 03/2013; 27(1):4-23.
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    ABSTRACT: General practice receptionists fulfil an essential role in UK primary care, shaping patient access to health professionals. They are often portrayed as powerful 'gatekeepers'. Existing literature and management initiatives advocate more training to improve their performance and, consequently, the patient experience. To explore the complexity of the role of general practice receptionists by considering the wider practice context in which they work. Ethnographic observation in seven urban general practices in the north-west of England. Seven researchers conducted 200 hours of ethnographic observation, predominantly in the reception areas of each practice. Forty-five receptionists were involved in the study and were asked about their work as they carried out their activities. Observational notes were taken. Analysis involved ascribing codes to incidents considered relevant to the role and organising these into related clusters. Receptionists were faced with the difficult task of prioritising patients, despite having little time, information, and training. They felt responsible for protecting those patients who were most vulnerable, however this was sometimes made difficult by protocols set by the GPs and by patients trying to 'play' the system. Framing the receptionist-patient encounter as one between the 'powerful' and the 'vulnerable' gets in the way of fully understanding the complex tasks receptionists perform and the contradictions that are inherent in their role. Calls for more training, without reflective attention to practice dynamics, risk failing to address systemic problems, portraying them instead as individual failings.
    British Journal of General Practice 03/2013; 63(608):177-84.
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    ABSTRACT: Context:There is little information on the potential impact of serum 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D [1,25(OH)(2)D] on bone health including turnover.Objective:The objective of the study was to determine the influence of 1,25(OH)(2)D and 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] on bone health in middle-aged and older European men.Design, Setting, and Participants:Men aged 40-79 years were recruited from population registers in 8 European centers. Subjects completed questionnaires that included questions concerning lifestyle and were invited to attend for quantitative ultrasound (QUS) of the heel, assessment of height and weight, and a fasting blood sample from which 1,25(OH)(2)D, 25(OH)D, and PTH were measured. 1,25(OH)(2)D was measured using liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Bone markers serum N-terminal propeptide of type 1 procollagen (P1NP) and crosslinks (β-cTX) were also measured. Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) of the hip and lumbar spine was performed in 2 centers.Main Outcome Measure(s):QUS of the heel, bone markers P1NP and β-cTX, and DXA of the hip and lumbar spine were measured.Results:A total of 2783 men, mean age 60.0 years (SD 11.0) were included in the analysis. After adjustment for age and center, 1,25(OH)(2)D was positively associated with 25(OH)D but not with PTH. 25(OH)D was negatively associated with PTH. After adjustment for age, center, height, weight, lifestyle factors, and season, 1,25(OH)(2)D was associated negatively with QUS and DXA parameters and associated positively with β-cTX. 1,25(OH)(2)D was not correlated with P1NP. 25(OH)D was positively associated with the QUS and DXA parameters but not related to either bone turnover marker. Subjects with both high 1,25(OH)(2)D (upper tertile) and low 25(OH)D (lower tertile) had the lowest QUS and DXA parameters and the highest β-cTX levels.Conclusions:Serum 1,25(OH)(2)D is associated with higher bone turnover and poorer bone health despite being positively related to 25(OH)D. A combination of high 1,25(OH)(2)D and low 25(OH)D is associated with the poorest bone health.
    The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 02/2013;
  • BMJ (online) 12/2012; 345:e8508.
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract The somatoform disorders, as currently defined in DSM-IV and ICD-10, have been criticized for their complexity and poor clinical utility. In this paper we consider these criticisms as well as the conceptual question of whether there is sufficient evidence for classifying them as mental and behavioural disorders. The review suggests that, as currently defined, somatoform disorders do not fulfil a recently articulated set of criteria for mental and behavioural disorders. In particular, the disorders are not defined according to positive psychological and behavioural disorders and evidence is sparse to support their classification as different and distinct diagnoses. Any revision of the disorders should not be based on 'medically unexplained' symptoms. Rather, the relevant diagnoses should include a combination of bothersome somatic symptoms with several other psychological features including beliefs about somatic symptoms and evidence of marked concerns about health and illness. Finally, the review presents a set of proposals for the revision of these disorders, by the Somatic Disorders and Dissociative Disorders Working Group of the WHO International Advisory Group for the Revision of ICD-10 Mental and Behavioural Disorders, which attempt to take account of the criticisms and current understanding of somatic experiences.
    International Review of Psychiatry 12/2012; 24(6):556-67.
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE:: To investigate relationship of mental ill health to absence from work in different occupational classifications. METHOD:: Examined sickness absence, mental health (GHQ-12), physical health, job characteristics, and personal characteristics in 18 waves of the British Household Panel Survey. RESULTS:: Overall sickness absence rate was 1.68%. Increased absence was associated with age greater than 45 years, female gender, lower occupational classification, and public-sector employers. Decreased absence was associated with part-time working. Scoring 4 or more on the General Health Questionnaire 12-item version (GHQ-12 caseness) was strongly associated with sickness absence. Public-sector employers had highest rates of sickness absence. GHQ-12 caseness had largest impact on absence in the public and nonprofit sectors, whereas physical health problems impacted more in the private sector. CONCLUSIONS:: GHQ-12 caseness is strongly associated with increased absence in all classifications of occupations. Differences between sectors require further investigation.
    Journal of occupational and environmental medicine / American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine 11/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: BRCA1 and BRCA2 are major breast cancer susceptibility genes. Nineteen single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) at 18 loci have been associated with breast cancer. We aimed to determine whether these predict breast cancer incidence in women with BRCA1/BRCA2 mutations. BRCA1/2 mutation carriers identified through the Manchester genetics centre between 1996-2011 were included. Using published odds ratios (OR) and risk allele frequencies, we calculated an overall breast cancer risk SNP score (OBRS) for each woman. The relationship between OBRS and age at breast cancer onset was investigated using the Cox proportional hazards model, and predictive ability assessed using Harrell's C concordance statistic. In BRCA1 mutation carriers we found no association between OBRS and age at breast cancer onset (OR for the lowest risk quintile compared to the highest was 1.20 (95% CI 0.82-1.75, Harrell's C=0.54), but in BRCA2 mutation carriers the association was significant (OR for the lowest risk quintile relative to the highest was 0.47 (95% CI 0.33-0.69, Harrell's C =0.59). The 18 validated breast cancer SNPs differentiate breast cancer risks between women with BRCA2 mutations, but not BRCA1. It may now be appropriate to use these SNPs to help women with BRCA2 mutations make maximally informed decisions about management options.
    Clinical Genetics 10/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Background: Explanatory models of illness, held by patients and treating clinicians, offer justifications and propose explanations for sickness, treatment evaluations and choice. These have been studied in relation to common mental disorders but research on explanatory models of psychosis (EMOP) has received scant attention. Adequately understanding patients' explanatory models for psychosis has important clinical implications. Method: We systematically examined studies on EMOP in the developing world to report on the nature of explanatory models, their relationship with help-seeking, duration of untreated psychosis (DUP), perceived stigma and any differences in the explanatory models between first and subsequent episodes. Results: 14 studies examining EMOP in developing countries were identified. The majority of studies reported predominantly supernatural and psychosocial EMOP. Holding supernatural and psychosocial explanatory models affected help-seeking behaviour, treatment modalities used and DUP. Discussion: EMOP in developing countries are rich and varied. The literature reports on a variety of populations using different methods and suffers from methodological limitations. Some recent studies have also attempted to modify explanatory models by using educational interventions; however, this was not examined in patient populations. Further research is needed to examine the impact of different explanatory models on DUP and help-seeking behaviours.
    International Review of Psychiatry 10/2012; 24(5):450-62.
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The relationship between functional somatic syndromes and multiple somatic symptoms is unclear. PURPOSE: We assessed whether the number of somatic symptoms is a predictor of health status in three functional somatic syndromes (FSS). METHODS: In a population-based study of 990 UK adults we assessed chronic widespread pain (CWP), chronic fatigue (CF) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) by questionnaire and medical record data. We assessed health status (Short Form 12 and EQ-5D), number of somatic symptoms (Somatic Symptom Inventory) and anxiety/depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale) both at baseline and at follow-up 1 year later. RESULTS: The proportion of people with an FSS who also have multiple somatic symptoms (52-55 %) was similar in the three functional syndromes. The presence of multiple somatic symptoms was associated with more impaired health status both at baseline and at follow-up. This finding was not explained by severity of FSS. In the absence of multiple somatic symptoms, the health status of the FSS was fair or good. In multiple regression analysis, the number of somatic symptoms, the presence of a functional syndrome (CWP or CF) and anxiety/depression were predictors of EQ-5D thermometer at follow-up after adjustment for confounders. CONCLUSIONS: Multiple somatic symptoms in people with an FSS are associated with impaired health status and this cannot be explained by more severe functional syndrome or the presence of anxiety and depression.
    International Journal of Behavioral Medicine 08/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Psychosocial assessment is a central aspect of managing self-harm in hospitals, designed to encompass needs and risk, and to lead to further care. However, little is known about service user experiences of assessment, or what aspects of assessment service users value. The aim of this study was to explore service user experiences of assessment, and examine the short-term and longer-term meanings of assessment for service users. METHOD: Interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to 13 interviews with service users following hospital attendance, and seven follow-up interviews conducted 3 months later. RESULTS: Few participants had a clear understanding of assessment's purpose. Assessment had the potential to promote or challenge hope, dependent on whether it was experienced as accepting or critical. If follow-up care did not materialise, this reinforced hopelessness and promoted disengagement from services. LIMITATIONS: The study sample was small and the participants heterogeneous in terms of self-harm history, method and intent, which may limit the transferability of the findings to other settings. Only self-report data on clinical diagnosis were collected. CONCLUSIONS: This was the first study to utilise an in-depth qualitative approach to investigate service user experiences of assessment and follow-up. The findings suggest that re-conceptualising psychosocial assessment as primarily an opportunity to engage service users therapeutically may consequently affect how health services are perceived. In order to maintain benefits established during the hospital experience, follow-up needs to be timely and integrated with assessment.
    Journal of Affective Disorders 08/2012;
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