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J Public Health Med. 2002 Mar;24(1):38-42.

Randomized controlled trial to assess the effectiveness of a primary health care liaison worker in promoting shared care for opiate users.

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  • 1Centre for Cancer Epidemiology, Withington, Manchester.



Recent national guidelines emphasize the requirement for all general practitioners to manage drug users within a shared care scheme and suggest that a primary health care liaison worker (PHCLW) may facilitate these arrangements. We undertook a group-randomized, randomized controlled trial to determine the effectiveness of a PHCLW in promoting shared care.


Primary health care teams in Stockport Health Authority, North West England, were randomly allocated to either an intervention arm, who were offered the services of a PHCLW, or to a control arm, who were offered standard support from the community drug team (CDT). The proportion of CDT clients with a history of regular opiate misuse who were in shared care 12 months after randomization was compared across study arms.


Eighteen (24.0 per cent) of the 75 CDT clients in the intervention arm but none of the 80 CDT clients in the control arm were in shared care at 12 months (chi2 = 9.37, df = 1, p < 0.01; 95 per cent confidence interval 8.6-39.4 per cent).


A PHCLW can significantly increase the number of CDT clients in shared care arrangements.

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