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Workload pressures hamper cancer prevention by GPs

Healthcare targets and lack of training block practices from playing a greater role in cancer prevention, concludes a GP survey.

The study

Northern Irish researchers surveyed 345 GP practices followed by two-rounds of one-to-one telephone interviews with 14 GPs. The GP respondents were mostly male (56%), worked full time (72%) and were GP principals (91%).

The findings

While most GPs (66%) believed that disease prevention was part of the job, only 31% of GPs were providing written cancer information. Lack of time was cited as the main reason for poor cancer prevention by 47% of GPs, while 88% of GPs thought that they had the opportunity for cancer prevention. However, 61% of GPs considered that imposed health priorities and targets limited their time for cancer prevention.  Most GPs also felt that they should have additional training in cancer prevention methods including behavioural changes and theories of motivation and action.

What does this study mean for GPs?

The authors of the study concluded: ‘While acknowledging that cancer prevention is an integral part of therole of GPs, lack of time and remuneration were consistently identified as critical limiting factors’.

BMC Fam Prac 2013, online 7 May

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