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Patients' experiences of GP consultations for psychological problems: a qualitative study

Buszewicz, M; Pistrang, N; Barker, C; Cape, J; Martin, J; (2006) Patients' experiences of GP consultations for psychological problems: a qualitative study. BRIT J GEN PRACT , 56 (528) 496 - 503. Gold open access

Abstract

BackgroundThe vast majority of patients with psychological problems are seen solely by their GP, but little is known about patients' perspectives regarding the variety of consultation skills that may be used in routine GP consultations with these patients.AimTo identify which aspects of GP consultations patients presenting with psychological problems experience as helpful or unhelpful.DesignQualitative study.SettingNine general practices in north central London.MethodTwenty patients, who had discussed psychological problems as a significant part of their index GP consultation, were asked in detail using the tape-assisted recall (TAR) method, about aspects of the consultation they had experienced as helpful or unhelpful.ResultsAll patients described how the relationship with the GP helped or hindered them in discussing their problems; this was central to their experience of the consultation. An underlying attitude of genuine interest and empathy, within a continuing relationship, was highly valued. Patients also described how the GP helped them make sense of, or resolve their problems, and supported their efforts to change.ConclusionThese patient accounts suggest that routine GP consultations for psychological problems can have a powerful impact, at least short-term. The GP role in providing a safe place where patients feel they are listened to and understood should not be underestimated, particularly in the mental health context. Further research is required to investigate the longer-term impact of different GP behaviours on patient health outcomes. The TAR method has potential applications in primary care research and in the training of GPs and other health professionals.

Type: Article
Title: Patients' experiences of GP consultations for psychological problems: a qualitative study
Open access status: An open access publication
Publisher version: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/ articles/PMC18720...
Keywords: family practice, mental health, primary care, qualitative research, referral and consultation, GENERAL-PRACTITIONER, EMOTIONAL-PROBLEMS, BREAST-CANCER, CARE, DISORDER, OUTCOMES, TRUST
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Pop Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Primary Care and Population Health
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/105776
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