ABSTRACT: Patients with chronic conditions are increasingly using complementary therapies. Asthma is the most common chronic disease in the UK. Qualitative research has suggested reasons why asthma patients use complementary therapies. However, there is little reliable quantitative evidence regarding the prevalence of complementary therapy use among asthma patients and predictors of use. A postal survey of complementary therapy use among asthma patients was therefore conducted via 27 general practices across seven Primary Care Trusts within the South West Strategic Health Authority (England), during August 2005 to May 2006. A total of 14,833 asthma patients were identified. A 1-in-4 random sample generated 3693 potential respondents, of whom 1320 (36%) returned questionnaires. Taking full account of the survey design, 14.5% (190/1308; 95% confidence interval 12.5% to 16.6%) had used complementary therapies for asthma; 54% of these patients had not disclosed their complementary therapy use to a health professional. The three therapies most commonly used were homeopathy, herbal medicine and relaxation. Just over half of those using complementary therapies for asthma reported that they usually or always helped; the most common reported benefits were symptom reduction, calming breathing and reducing panic. Multivariable analyses indicated an inverted U-shaped relationship between complementary therapy use for asthma and age, and increased likelihood of use among women, those with educational qualifications, those not usually helped by asthma medication, and those who have difficulty sleeping because of asthma symptoms. Dissatisfaction with conventional care was not associated with complementary therapy use for asthma. Asthma patients may use complementary therapies with or without the knowledge of their healthcare providers. Open communication between professionals and patients about complementary therapies may be valuable to give patients enhanced opportunities to discuss the impact of asthma on their quality of life and the effectiveness of their conventional treatment.
Health & Social Care in the Community 04/2008; 16(2):155-64. · 0.86 Impact Factor
ABSTRACT: To assess the effectiveness, accessibility, and acceptability of a general practitioner with special interest service for skin problems compared with a hospital dermatology clinic.
Randomised controlled trial.
General practitioner with special interest dermatology service and hospital dermatology clinic.
Adults referred to a hospital dermatology clinic and assessed by a consultant or the general practitioner with special interest service,. Suitable patients had non-urgent skin problems and had been identified from the referral letter as suitable for management by a general practitioner with special interest.
Participants were randomised in 2:1 ratio to receive management by a general practitioner with special interest or usual hospital outpatient care.
Primary outcomes were disease related quality of life (dermatology life quality index) and improvement in patients' perception of access to services, assessed nine months after randomisation. Secondary outcomes were patient satisfaction, preference for site of care, proportion of failed appointments, and waiting times to first appointment.
49% of the participants were judged suitable for care by the general practitioner with special interest service. Of 768 patients eligible, 556 (72.4%) were randomised (354 to general practitioner with special interest, 202 to hospital outpatient care). After nine months, 422 (76%) were followed up. No noticeable differences were found between the groups in clinical outcome (median dermatology life quality index score = 1 both arms, ratio of geometric means 0.99, 95% confidence interval 0.85 to 1.15). The general practitioner with special interest service was more accessible (difference between means on access scale 14, 11 to 19) and waited a mean of 40 (35 to 46) days less. Patients expressed slightly greater satisfaction with consultations with a general practitioner with special interest (difference in mean satisfaction score 4, 1 to 7), and at baseline and after nine months 61% said they preferred care at the service.
The general practitioner with special interest service for dermatology was more accessible and preferred by patients than hospital outpatient care, achieving similar clinical outcomes. Trial registration ISRCTN31962758.
BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 01/2006; 331(7530):1441-6.
ABSTRACT: To carry out an economic evaluation of a general practitioner with special interest service for non-urgent skin problems compared with hospital outpatient care.
Cost effectiveness analysis and cost consequences analysis alongside a randomised controlled trial.
General practitioner with special interest dermatology service covering 29 general practices in Bristol.
Adults referred to a hospital dermatology clinic who were potentially suitable for management by a general practitioner with special interest.
Participants were randomised 2:1 to receive either care by general practitioner with special interest service or usual hospital outpatient care.
Costs to NHS, patients, and companions, and costs of lost production. Cost effectiveness, using the two primary outcomes of dermatology life quality index scores and improved patient perceived access, was assessed by incremental cost effectiveness ratios and cost effectiveness acceptability curves. Cost consequences are presented in relation to all costs and both primary and secondary outcomes from the trial.
Costs to the NHS for patients attending the general practitioner with special interest service were 208 pounds sterling (361 dollars; 308 euro) compared with 118 pounds sterling for hospital outpatient care. Based on analysis with imputation of missing data, costs to patients and companions were 48 pounds sterling and 51 pounds sterling, respectively; costs of lost production were 27 pounds sterling and 34 pounds sterling, respectively. The incremental cost effectiveness ratios for general practitioner with special interest care over outpatient care were 540 pounds sterling per one point gain in the dermatology life quality index and 66 pounds sterling per 10 point change in the access scale.
The general practitioner with special interest service for dermatology is more costly than hospital outpatient care, but this additional cost needs to be weighed against improved access and broadly similar health outcomes.
BMJ (Clinical research ed.). 01/2006; 331(7530):1444-9.