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Br J Gen Pract. 1996 Jun;46(407):333-7.

Evaluation of an educational programme to improve the recognition of psychological illness by general practitioners.

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  • 1Royal College of General Practitioners' Manchester Research Unit.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Take Care is a commercially sponsored educational package for the detection and management of depression by all members of the primary health-care team.

AIM:

This study was designed to evaluate whether the educational package affects the recognition of psychological illness by general practitioners.

METHOD:

General practitioners working in 13 practices in North West England or Trent Regional Health Authorities took part the evaluation. Patients who scored more than eight on the depression or anxiety component of the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scales, and who were thought by their general practitioner to have a totally physical problem or no illness, were deemed to have a psychological illness that had been 'missed' by the doctor. Changes in the proportion of missed cases before and after exposure to Take Care were estimated.

RESULTS:

When all practices were considered together, the general practitioners missed a depressive illness in 24.1% of patients before Take Care, and 17.1% afterwards; absolute decrease 7.0% [95% confidence interval (CI) -2.0 to -12.0%]. An improvement was seen in most practices (Wilcoxon matched-pair test P < 0.05). The programme was also associated with a small reduction in the overall proportion of episodes of anxiety missed by the doctor (absolute decrease 4.5%; 95% CI -1.0 to -8.0%) a reduction was found in most practices (Wilcoxon matched-pair test P < 0.05). There was no material difference in the diagnostic false-positive rate of the doctors before and after the introduction of the programme.

CONCLUSION:

Exposure to an educational package for depression was associated with improved recognition of psychological illness by general practitioners.

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PMID:
8983250
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC1239663
Free PMC Article
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