Preparing general practitioners to receive cancer patients following treatment in secondary care: a qualitative study

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Background: Many patients consider the interface between secondary and primary care difficult, and in particular, the transition of care between these different parts of the healthcare system presents problems. This interface has long been recognized as a critical point for quality of care. The purpose of our study is to formulate solutions to problems identified by cancer patients and healthcare professionals during the transition from hospital back to general practice on completion of primary treatment for cancer.

Methods: A qualitative study based on focus groups at a seminar for professionals in both primary and secondary healthcare. Participants discussed solutions to problems which had previously been identified in patient interviews and in focus groups with general practitioners (GPs), hospital doctors, and nursing staff. The data were analyzed using framework analysis.

Results: Solutions, endorsed by all groups at the seminar to improve transition back to general practice after primary treatment for cancer, were: 1) To add nurses’ discharge letters addressing psychosocial matters to medical discharge letters; 2) To send medical discharge letters earlier from some hospital departments to GPs; 3) To provide plans and future affiliations for patients when they leave a department, and 4) To arrange a return visit to general practice dedicated to discussion of the patients’ cancer disease and the treatment experience.

Conclusions: The transition of care of cancer patients appears too complex to be coordinated by administrative standards alone. We recommend that healthcare professionals are more engaged and present in the coordination of care across organizational boundaries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number202
JournalBMC Health Services Research
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 16 May 2015

ID: 157319554