[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Care planning and the use of written care plans has potential to add value to current care for long-term conditions. However, there has been insufficient specificity about what care planning is designed to achieve, and current evidence about demonstrable benefit is not definitive.
Most patients report aspects of ‘care planning‘, although a comprehensive, proactive approach resulting in a written and updated plan is very rare. Few patients or professionals currently see care planning or written care plans as an obvious solution to current problems in care for long-term conditions.
Variation in care planning across UK practices is limited, and the variation found in routine care does not have a demonstrable impact on outcome
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The Patient Assessment of Chronic Illness Care (PACIC) is a US measure of chronic illness quality of care, based on the influential Chronic Care Model (CCM). It measures a number of aspects of care, including patient activation; delivery system design and decision support; goal setting and tailoring; problem-solving and contextual counselling; follow-up and coordination. Although there is developing evidence of the utility of the scale, there is little evidence about its performance in the United Kingdom (UK). We present preliminary data on the psychometric performance of the PACIC in a large sample of UK patients with long-term conditions. METHOD: We collected PACIC, demographic, clinical and quality of care data from patients with long-term conditions across 38 general practices, as part of a wider longitudinal study. We assess rates of missing data, present descriptive and distributional data, assess internal consistency, and test validity through confirmatory factor analysis, and through associations between PACIC scores, patient characteristics and related measures. RESULTS: There was evidence that rates of missing data were high on PACIC (9.6 % - 15.9 %), and higher than on other scales used in the same survey. Most PACIC sub-scales showed reasonable levels of internal consistency (alpha = 0.68 -- 0.94), responses did not demonstrate high skewness levels, and floor effects were more frequent (up to 30.4 % on the follow up and co-ordination subscale) than ceiling effects (generally <5 %). PACIC demonstrated preliminary evidence of validity in terms of measures of long-term condition care. Confirmatory factor analysis suggested that the five factor PACIC structure proposed by the scale developers did not fit the data: reporting separate factor scores may not always be appropriate. CONCLUSION: The importance of improving care for long-term conditions means that the development and validation of measures is a priority. The PACIC scale has demonstrated potential utility in this regard, but further assessment is required to assess low levels of completion of the scale, and to explore the performance of the scale in predicting outcomes and assessing the effects of interventions.
BMC Health Services Research 08/2012; 12(1):293. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Changes to the workforce and organisation of general practice are occurring rapidly in response to the Australian health care reform agenda, and the changing nature of the medical profession. In particular, the last five years has seen the rapid introduction and expansion of a nursing workforce in Australian general practices. This potentially creates pressures on current infrastructure in general practice. METHOD: This study used a mixed methods, 'rapid appraisal' approach involving observation, photographs, and interviews. RESULTS: Nurses utilise space differently to GPs, and this is part of the diversity they bring to the general practice environment. At the same time their roles are partly shaped by the ways space is constructed in general practices. CONCLUSION: The fluidity of nursing roles in general practice suggests that nurses require a versatile space in which to maximize their role and contribution to the general practice team.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We examined the management of depression by general practitioners (GPs), through the use of case vignettes, in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), severe osteoarthritis and depressive symptoms alone.
Depression is common in patients with COPD. Untreated depression leads to poor compliance with medical treatment and increases health-care utilisation.
We surveyed a random sample of GPs (n = 3956) in England using a postal questionnaire. The questionnaire explored how GPs would approach the management of emotional distress in patients with and without a chronic condition and gauged their views of and experiences with depression in patients with COPD.
A total of 864 completed responses were received (22%). In the vignettes, a significantly greater percentage of GPs reported that they would explore or offer the diagnosis of depression in a patient with COPD (95.4%) compared with patients with either severe osteoarthritis (88.3%) or depressive symptoms alone (86.3%). In each case, the vast majority of GPs reported that they would explore a diagnosis of depression using a clinical diagnostic tool. The preferred method of treatment, if offered, in all three cases was a combination of anti-depressant drugs and psychological therapy. GPs endorsed the importance of routinely screening for depression in patients who have COPD and acknowledged that depression impairs patient self-management of COPD.In conclusion, GPs in England were able to diagnose depression from the vignettes and plan appropriate treatment strategies in patients with chronic diseases. This should be complemented with thorough physical examination by GPs to rule out other factors such as the impact of physical illness. GPs believe depression interferes with patient self-management of COPD.
Primary Health Care Research & Development 07/2011; 12(3):237-44.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Primary care professionals often manage patients with multiple long-term health conditions, but managing multimorbidity is challenging given time and resource constraints and interactions between conditions.
To explore GP and nurse perceptions of multimorbidity and the influence on service organization and clinical decision making.
A qualitative interview study with primary care professionals in practices in Greater Manchester, U.K. Interviews were conducted with 15 GPs and 10 practice nurses.
Primary care professionals identified tensions between delivering care to meet quality targets and fulfilling the patient's agenda, tensions which are exacerbated in multimorbidity. They were aware of the inconvenience suffered by patients through attendance at multiple clinic appointments when care was structured around individual conditions. They reported difficulties managing patients with multimorbidity in limited consultation time, which led to adoption of an 'additive-sequential' decision-making model which dealt with problems in priority order until consultation resources were exhausted, when further management was deferred. Other challenges included the need for patients to co-ordinate their care, the difficulties of self-management support in multimorbidity and problems of making sense of the relationships between physical and mental health. Doctor and nurse accounts included limited consideration of multimorbidity in terms of the interactions between conditions or synergies between management of different conditions.
Primary care professionals identify a number of challenges in care for multimorbidity and adopt a particular model of decision making to deliver care for multiple individual conditions. However, they did not describe specific decision making around managing multimorbidity per se.
Family Practice 05/2011; 28(5):579-87. · 1.83 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND The authors aimed to determine US and UK doctors' professional values and reported behaviours, and the extent to which these vary with the context of care. METHOD 1891 US and 1078 UK doctors completed the survey (64.4% and 40.3% response rate respectively). Multivariate logistic regression was used to compare responses to identical questions in the two surveys. RESULTS UK doctors were more likely to have developed practice guidelines (82.8% UK vs 49.6% US, p<0.001) and to have taken part in a formal medical error-reduction programme (70.9% UK vs 55.7% US, p<0.001). US doctors were more likely to agree about the need for periodic recertification (completely agree 23.4% UK vs 53.9% US, p<0.001). Nearly a fifth of doctors had direct experience of an impaired or incompetent colleague in the previous 3 years. Where the doctor had not reported the colleague to relevant authorities, reasons included thinking that someone else was taking care of the problem, believing that nothing would happen as a result, or fear of retribution. UK doctors were more likely than US doctors to agree that significant medical errors should always be disclosed to patients. More US doctors reported that they had not disclosed an error to a patient because they were afraid of being sued. DISCUSSION The context of care may influence both how professional values are expressed and the extent to which behaviours are in line with stated values. Doctors have an important responsibility to develop their healthcare systems in ways which will support good professional behaviour.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Across the globe the emphasis on roles and responsibilities of primary care teams is under scrutiny. This paper begins with a review of general practice financing in Australia, and how nurses are currently funded. We then examine the influence on funding structures on the role of the nurse. We set out three dilemmas for policy-makers in this area: lack of an evidence base for incentives, possible untoward impacts on interdisciplinary functioning, and the substitution/enhancement debate.
This three year, multimethod study undertook rapid appraisal of 25 general practices and year-long studies in seven practices where a change was introduced to the role of the nurse. Data collected included interviews with nurses (n = 36), doctors (n = 24), and managers (n = 22), structured observation of the practice nurse (51 hours of observation), and detailed case studies of the change process in the seven year-long studies.
Despite specific fee-for-service funding being available, only 6% of nurse activities generated such a fee. Yet the influence of the funding was to focus nurse activity on areas that they perceived were peripheral to their roles within the practice.
Interprofessional relationships and organisational climate in general practices are highly influential in terms of nursing role and the ability of practices to respond to and utilise funding mechanisms. These factors need to be considered, and the development of optimal teamwork supported in the design and implementation of further initiatives that financially support nursing in general practice.
BMC Health Services Research 02/2011; 11:38. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We analyse the determinants of annual net income and wages (net income/hours) of general practitioners (GPs) using data for 2271 GPs in England recorded during Autumn 2008. The average GP had an annual net income of £97,500 and worked 43 h per week. The mean wage was £51 per h. Net income and wages depended on gender, experience, list size, partnership size, whether or not the GP worked in a dispensing practice, whether they were salaried of self-employed, whether they worked in a practice with a nationally or locally negotiated contract, and the characteristics of the local population (proportion from ethnic minorities, rurality, and income deprivation). The findings have implications for pay discrimination by GP gender and ethnicity, GP preferences for partnership size, incentives for competition for patients, and compensating differentials for local population characteristics. They also shed light on the attractiveness to GPs in England of locally negotiated (personal medical services) versus nationally negotiated (general medical services) contracts.
Health Economics 02/2011; 20(2):147-60. · 2.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To explore whether a period of intensive international recruitment by the English National Health Service (NHS) achieved its objectives of boosting workforce numbers and to set this against the wider costs, longer-term challenges and questions arising.
A postal survey of all pre-2006 NHS providers, Strategic Health Authorities and Deans of Postgraduate Medical Education obtained information on 284 (45%) organizations (142 completed questionnaires). Eight subsequent case studies (74 interviews) covered medical consultant, general practitioner, nurse, midwife and allied health professional recruitment.
Most respondents had undertaken or facilitated international recruitment between 2001 and 2006 and believed that it had enabled them to address immediate staff shortages. Views on longer-term implications, such as recruit retention, were more equivocal. Most organizations had made only a limited value-for-money assessment, balancing direct expenditure on overseas recruitment against savings on temporary staff. Other short and long-term transaction and opportunity costs arose from pressures on existing staff, time spent on induction/pastoral support, and human resource management and workforce planning challenges. Though recognized, these extensive 'hidden costs' for NHS organizations were harder to assess as were the implications for source countries and migrant staff.
The main achievement of the intensive international recruitment period from a UK viewpoint was that such a major undertaking was seen through without major disruption to NHS services. The wider costs and challenges meant, however, that large-scale international recruitment was not sustainable as a solution to workforce shortages. Should such approaches be attempted in future, a clearer upfront appraisal of all the potential costs and implications will be vital.
Journal of Health Services Research & Policy 10/2010; 15(4):195-203. · 1.73 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A national survey of family physicians working in the National Health Service (NHS) of England in 2001 revealed that 1/10 under 50 years of age were intending to leave direct patient care within 5 years, and that the principal predictor of their intention to leave was job satisfaction. Our research addressed two questions. First, does a family physician's stated intention to leave their job predict whether or not they actually do leave? Second, to what extent does job satisfaction predict actually leaving?
Secondary data analysis was performed on 1174 family physicians aged 50 years and under, who responded to the aforementioned survey. Using data from the annual census of physicians in the NHS, we determined which physicians actually left family practice during the next 5 years.
Of the 1174 family physicians studied, 194 (16.5%) had left direct patient care within 5 years. Multivariate regression showed that job satisfaction predicted a physician's intention to leave direct patient care and that intention to leave predicted actually leaving. Logically, job satisfaction should then have predicted actual leaving. Our findings, however, suggest that this is only partly true.
Although higher levels of job 'dissatisfaction' were associated with an increased likelihood of leaving, higher levels of job 'satisfaction' did not prevent leaving.
The European Journal of Public Health 02/2010; 21(4):499-503. · 2.52 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Specialist physicians provide a large share of outpatient health care for children and adolescents in the United States, but little is known about the nature and content of these services in the ambulatory setting. Our objective was to quantify and characterize routine and co-managed pediatric healthcare as provided by specialists in community settings.
Nationally representative data were obtained from the National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey for the years 2002-2006. We included office based physicians (excluding family physicians, general internists and general pediatricians), and a representative sample of their patients aged 18 or less. Visits were classified into mutually exclusive categories based on the major reason for the visit, previous knowledge of the health problem, and whether the visit was the result of a referral. Primary diagnoses were classified using Expanded Diagnostic Clusters. Physician report of sharing care for the patient with another physician and frequency of reappointments were also collected.
Overall, 41.3% out of about 174 million visits were for routine follow up and preventive care of patients already known to the specialist. Psychiatry, immunology and allergy, and dermatology accounted for 54.5% of all routine and preventive care visits. Attention deficit disorder, allergic rhinitis and disorders of the sebaceous glands accounted for about a third of these visits. Overall, 73.2% of all visits resulted in a return appointment with the same physician, in half of all cases as a result of a routine or preventive care visit.
Ambulatory office-based pediatric care provided by specialists includes a large share of non referred routine and preventive care for common problems for patients already known to the physician. It is likely that many of these services could be managed in primary care settings, lessening demand for specialists and improving coordination of care.
BMC Health Services Research 12/2009; 9:221. · 1.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Health care is changing rapidly. Unacceptable variations in service access and quality of health care and pressures to contain costs have led to the redefinition of professional roles. The roles of nonphysician clinicians (nurses, physician assistants, and pharmacists) have been extended to the medical domain. It is expected that such revision of roles will improve health care effectiveness and efficiency. The evidence suggests that nonphysician clinicians working as substitutes or supplements for physicians in defined areas of care can maintain and often improve the quality of care and outcomes for patients. The effect on health care costs is mixed, with savings dependent on the context of care and specific nature of role revision. The evidence base underpinning these conclusions is strongest for nurses with a marked paucity of research into pharmacists and physician assistants. More robust evaluative studies into role revision are needed, particularly with regard to economic impacts, before definitive conclusions can be drawn.
Medical Care Research and Review 12/2009; 66(6 Suppl):36S-89S. · 3.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Workforce shortages in Australia are occurring across a range of health disciplines but are most acute in general practice. Skill mix change such as task substitution is one solution to workforce shortages. The aim of this systematic review was to explore the evidence for the effectiveness of task substitution between GPs and pharmacists and GPs and nurses for the care of older people with chronic disease. Published, peer reviewed (black) and non-peer reviewed (grey) literature were included in the review if they met the inclusion criteria.
Forty-six articles were included in the review. Task substitution between pharmacists and GPs and nurses and GPs resulted in an improved process of care and patient outcomes, such as improved disease control. The interventions were either health promotion or disease management according to guidelines or use of protocols, or a mixture of both. The results of this review indicate that pharmacists and nurses can effectively provide disease management and/or health promotion for older people with chronic disease in primary care. While there were improvements in patient outcomes no reduction in health service use was evident.
When implementing skill mix changes such as task substitution it is important that the health professionals' roles are complementary otherwise they may simply duplicate the task performed by other health professionals. This has implications for the way in which multidisciplinary teams are organised in initiatives such as the GP Super Clinics.
Australia and New Zealand Health Policy 10/2009; 6:23.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To describe the evolving roles of practice nurses in Australia and the impact of nurses on general practice function.
Multimethod research in two substudies: (a) a rapid appraisal based on observation, photographs of workspaces, and interviews with nurses, doctors and managers in 25 practices in Victoria and New South Wales, conducted between September 2005 and March 2006; and (b) naturalistic longitudinal case studies of introduced change in seven practices in Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Western Australia, conducted between January 2007 and March 2008.
We identified six roles of nurses in general practice: patient carer, organiser, quality controller, problem solver, educator and agent of connectivity. Although the first three roles are appreciated as nursing strengths by both nurses and doctors, doctors tended not to recognise nurses' educator and problem solver roles within the practice. Only 21% of the clinical activities undertaken by nurses were directly funded through Medicare. The role of the nurse as an agent of connectivity, uniting the different workers within the practice organisation, is particularly notable in small and medium-sized practices, and may be a key determinant of organisational resilience.
Nursing roles may be enhanced through progressive broadening of the scope of the patient care role, fostering the nurse educator role, and addressing barriers to role enhancement, such as organisational inexperience with interprofessional work and lack of a career structure. In adjusting the funding structure for nurses, care should be taken not to create perverse incentives to limit nurses' clinical capacity or undermine the flexibility that gives practice nursing much of its value for nurses and practices.
The Medical journal of Australia 08/2009; 191(2):92-7. · 2.85 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A pay-for-performance scheme based on meeting targets for the quality of clinical care was introduced to family practice in England in 2004.
We conducted an interrupted time-series analysis of the quality of care in 42 representative family practices, with data collected at two time points before implementation of the scheme (1998 and 2003) and at two time points after implementation (2005 and 2007). At each time point, data on the care of patients with asthma, diabetes, or coronary heart disease were extracted from medical records; data on patients' perceptions of access to care, continuity of care, and interpersonal aspects of care were collected from questionnaires. The analysis included aspects of care that were and those that were not associated with incentives.
Between 2003 and 2005, the rate of improvement in the quality of care increased for asthma and diabetes (P<0.001) but not for heart disease. By 2007, the rate of improvement had slowed for all three conditions (P<0.001), and the quality of those aspects of care that were not associated with an incentive had declined for patients with asthma or heart disease. As compared with the period before the pay-for-performance scheme was introduced, the improvement rate after 2005 was unchanged for asthma or diabetes and was reduced for heart disease (P=0.02). No significant changes were seen in patients' reports on access to care or on interpersonal aspects of care. The level of the continuity of care, which had been constant, showed a reduction immediately after the introduction of the pay-for-performance scheme (P<0.001) and then continued at that reduced level.
Against a background of increases in the quality of care before the pay-for-performance scheme was introduced, the scheme accelerated improvements in quality for two of three chronic conditions in the short term. However, once targets were reached, the improvement in the quality of care for patients with these conditions slowed, and the quality of care declined for two conditions that had not been linked to incentives. Continuity of care was reduced after the introduction of the scheme.
New England Journal of Medicine 08/2009; 361(4):368-78. · 54.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Objectives: To explore gender and career-stage differences in factors affecting GP retention, and to draw out lessons for enhancing the stock of GPs across the UK and Europe.
Methods: A postal survey of all 1083 GP principals practising in England and Wales in October 1996 but not 1997.
Results: After removing those who had died, emigrated or who could not be traced, the response rate was 63%, with 621 completed questionnaires being returned. Our most striking finding was not the difference, but the similarity in doctors' attitudes. Regardless of gender or career-stage, the most important reasons for leaving a GP principal post were high administrative and clinical workload and high patient expectations. Amongst younger leavers, both men and women also rated lack of flexible hours and GP partnership problems as important. Moreover, whilst women were more likely to say that better opportunities to accommodate family would help them return, a minority of men regarded those factors as relevant too. Another key finding was the general desire for career variety that could not be accommodated as a GP principal. Among older leavers, both genders were likely to have moved to a non-principal post they could combine with other NHS or private medicine. Even amongst young men, the group least likely to combine roles, 13% had a second job. Finally, there was similarity in the importance both genders placed on 11 career structure and job-related factors felt to be discouraging new GP recruits.
Conclusions: Whereas “traditional” UK general practice met the full-time, job-for-life needs of earlier male-dominated cohorts of GPs, it no longer seems entirely appropriate either for the increasing number of women GPs or many of their male counterparts. Maximising the stock of GPs across the UK and Europe requires the option of greater flexibility to accommodate doctors' desire for varied lifestyle and employment options at all career stages.
European Journal of General Practice. 07/2009; 8(2).