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J Family Med Prim Care. 2018 Jul-Aug;7(4):739-751. doi: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_284_17.

Factors affecting primary health-care physicians' emergency-related practice; Eastern Province, KSA.

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Qatif Primary Health Care Centers, Ministry of Health, Dammam, Eastern Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine, Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University, Dammam, Eastern Province, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.



Being the first in-line care providers, primary health-care (PHC) physicians may encounter all forms of emergencies, ranging from minor complaints to life-threatening events. This wide variation of cases challenges the physicians to be competent in emergency medicine. Informative literature describing and assessing the factors affecting PHC physicians' emergency medical services (EMS)-related practice is deficient (nationally and internationally). The aim of this study is to assess PHC physicians' practice related to EMS, the factors affecting it, as well as their learning needs and preferred methods of continuous training in emergency medicine.


All physicians working in the selected centers were invited to complete a self-administered questionnaire addressing their EMS-related practice. Moreover, physicians were invited to participate in face-to-face semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions.


The study revealed that 87.3% of physicians had a good diagnostic knowledge score while only 47.6% had a good management score. Nonetheless, 63.5% of physicians had a neutral attitude toward EMS. The most common reported emergencies encountered are bronchial asthma (86.51%), cut wounds (83.33%), and burns (76.19%). About 62% of participants reported that their greatest needs for further training were in cardiovascular and central nervous system emergency management, preferably by practical training in hospital emergency department (80%).


Dammam PHC physicians have a good knowledge, neutral attitude, and fair practice concerning the emergency cases encountered. The majority of physicians reported their need for further hands-on training in emergency medicine.

Settings and Design:

A cross-sectional, mixed methods study was conducted in 13 out of 26 PHC centers of Dammam, Saudi Arabia.


Emergency medical services; emergency medicine; physicians; primary health care; qualitative methods

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