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Patient perspectives of general practice consultation for musculoskeletal disorders: A qualitative study

Thomas, Rachel; Berry, Alice; Cramp, Fiona; Walsh, Nicola

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Dr Alice Berry
Associate Professor of Rehabilitation

Fiona Cramp
Professor in Long Term Conditions

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Nicola Walsh
Professor in Knowledge Mobilisation & Muscul


Background: Musculoskeletal disorders (MSKDs) are a significant reason for general practice consultations in the United Kingdom. Current models of care include consultation with a General Practitioner (GP) or a First Contact Physiotherapy Practitioner (FCPP). Evidence suggests that FCPP led care is safe, yet it is unknown whether patients share this belief. Purpose: To explore patients' perspectives of general practice consultation for MSKDs, including views on safety, satisfaction and recommendations for future practice. Methods: A secondary data analysis utilising qualitative data from the Patient Reported Experiences and Outcomes of Safety in Primary Care (PREOS-PC) questionnaire completed by 426 general practice patients who consulted with a MSKD between December 2019 and October 2022. Responses to the question ‘What changes, if any, would you suggest to your GP surgery to make sure that health care is provided safely?’ were analysed using content analysis. Results: 606 responses across three timepoints were analysed. Two themes and six subthemes were identified; views on safety and satisfaction (inherent trust in the system, provision of face-to-face appointments, prompt access to care, person-centred care) and recommendations for future practice (appointment system: prompt access to face-to-face appointments, delivery of care: co-ordinated and collaborative person-centred care). Conclusions: Patients commented that FCPP consultations provided quick and accurate diagnoses and targeted advice. Recommendations for future practice included prompt access to face-to-face appointments, phone calls to be answered more quickly, improved communication for test results and follow ups, patients to feel listened to with a more individualised approach, and better continuity of care.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 28, 2024
Online Publication Date Jun 4, 2024
Publication Date Jun 30, 2024
Deposit Date Jun 21, 2024
Publicly Available Date Jun 21, 2024
Journal Musculoskeletal Care
Print ISSN 1478-2189
Electronic ISSN 1557-0681
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 22
Issue 2
Article Number e1904
Public URL


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