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Patients satisfied with GP-led melanoma follow-up

By Lilian Anekwe

Patients who have been treated for melanoma prefer being followed up in primary care than in a specialist unit, a Scottish study has found.

Researchers randomised 142 patients previously treated for melanoma but free of recurrent disease to either GP-led follow at one of 35 practices in Scotland, or standard hospital care.

Patients in the intervention group received protocol-driven reviews with GPs trained and supported by secondary care, with access to rapid referral into secondary care, and a patient information booklet. Researchers measured patients' satisfaction using a questionnaire, and health status using the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale.

After 12 months, patient satisfaction was significantly higher in the intervention group. There was no significant difference in health status or anxiety and depression between the intervention and the control groups.

Dr Peter Murchie, senior lecturer in primary care and a GP in Aberdeen, concluded: ‘The data support an emerging literature which suggests that GP-led follow-up confers important benefits in patient satisfaction, without adverse effects on the psychological and physical well-being of patients, at least in the short-term.'

British Journal of Cancer 2010 102 1447-1455.

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