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Br J Gen Pract. Apr 2003; 53(489): 278–283.
PMCID: PMC1314569

Qualitative study of patients' perceptions of the quality of care for depression in general practice.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Research into quality of care in primary mental health care has largely focused on the role of the general practitioner (GP) in the detection and management of patients' problems. AIM: To explore depressed patients' perceptions of the quality of care received from GPs. DESIGN OF STUDY: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews. SETTING: General practices in Greater Manchester. METHOD: Purposive sampling and semi-structured interviewing of 27 patients who had received care from 10 GPs for depression. RESULTS: Quality of care in depression depends on good communication between the doctor and the patient, but patients who are depressed often have difficulty in discussing their problems with doctors. They are also unlikely to be active in seeking care; for example, in making follow-up appointments, especially when they are uncertain that depression is a legitimate reason for seeing the doctor. Patients sometimes accept care that does not meet professional standards, either because of low expectations of what the National Health Service (NHS) can provide, or because of low self-worth associated with their problem. CONCLUSION: The depressed person may feel that they do not deserve to take up the doctor's time, or that it is not possible for doctors to listen to them and understand how they feel. Doctors need to be active in providing care that meets professional standards. We advocate a model of care in which patients with depression are followed up systematically.

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Selected References

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