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Br J Gen Pract. 2011 May;61(586):e215-22. doi: 10.3399/bjgp11X572409.

Patients' confidence in their GP before and after being diagnosed with cancer.

Author information

1
The Research Unit for General Practice and Section for General Medical Practice, School of Public Health, Aarhus University, Denmark. mette.bach.larsen@alm.au.dk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

General practice plays an important role in the cancer care pathway. The initial diagnostic phase may be crucial for the relationship between the patient and the GP.

AIM:

The aim was to describe whether patients' confidence in their GP changed after a cancer diagnosis, and analyse whether the change in confidence was associated with doctor delay.

DESIGN AND SETTING:

Population-based cohort study with 1892 questionnaires sent to patients and their GPs in general practices in the former Aarhus County, Denmark.

METHOD:

Information on patients' confidence in their GP was obtained from the patient questionnaire. Information on doctor delay was obtained from the GPs and defined as a period of 14 days or more from the date of first symptom presentation to the GP until cancer-specific investigation was initiated.

RESULTS:

Before the cancer diagnosis, 88.4% of the patients had confidence in their GP, which decreased to 80.0% after the diagnosis (P<0.001); 15.8% of the patients who experienced no doctor delay reported a decrease in confidence after the cancer diagnosis, compared with 29.1% of the patients with a doctor delay (P<0.001). Patients presenting with alarm symptoms and experiencing doctor delay were 3.8 times more likely to lose confidence compared with those presenting with alarm symptoms who experienced no doctor delay (P = 0.048).

CONCLUSION:

The majority of the patients had high levels of confidence in their GP before, as well as after, the cancer diagnosis. Nevertheless, a substantial amount had low confidence in the GP, especially when experiencing doctor delay in the initial phase of the pathway.

PMID:
21619745
PMCID:
PMC3080226
DOI:
10.3399/bjgp11X572409
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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