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Do general practitioner attitudes and characteristics of their practices explain patterns of specialist referral?

Roland, M; Grimshaw, J; Grol, R; Shanks, D; Johnson, A; Russell, I; Taylor, R; (1997) Do general practitioner attitudes and characteristics of their practices explain patterns of specialist referral? European Journal of General Practice , 3 (4) 10.3109/13814789709160350.

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Abstract

Objectives: To describe attitudes of general practitioners to their work, and to relate these to characteristics of their practices and to rates of specialist referral. Methods: Data were collected from 109 Scottish general practitioners. Questionnaires were used to measure doctors perceptions of their responsibilities, their tolerance of uncertainty, their perception of benefits resulting from specialist referral, and perception of the incidence of a range of conditions which might require specialist referral. Rates of specialist referral were measured prospectively over a one-year period. Results: There was wide variation in the responses to all questionnaires. More developed practices (e.g. computerised, with access to hospital beds) reported a greater sense of responsibility for the care of their own patients, and perceived less benefit from specialist referral. Doctors who perceived serious disease as relatively uncommon and those who saw themselves as responsible for a wide range of conditions referred fewer patients to specialists. Doctors working in practices which conducted regular audits and those who had access to hospital beds also referred fewer patients to specialists. Conclusions: Attitudes of general practitioners to their roles, and the types of practice in which they work, are related to their use of hospital specialists. If, as in the UK at present, general practitioners take an increasingly restricted view of their core responsibilities, this could increase the numbers of patients referred to specialists. However the results of this study are also consistent with the view that, given appropriate practice development, general practitioners could carry out a greater proportion of work which is currently referred to specialists. © 1997 Informa UK Ltd All rights reserved.

Type: Article
Title: Do general practitioner attitudes and characteristics of their practices explain patterns of specialist referral?
DOI: 10.3109/13814789709160350
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 > Experimental Psychology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1540418
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