Patient removals from general practitioner lists in Northern Ireland: 1987-1996.
BACKGROUND: Being struck off a general practitioner's list is a major event for patients and a subject for much media attention. However, it has not hitherto received much research attention. AIMS: To quantify the numbers of patients removed at doctors' request in Northern Ireland between 1987 and 1996. To describe the characteristics of those removed and to determine if the rate of removal has increased. METHODS: This is a descriptive epidemiological study involving a secondary data analysis of records held by the Central Services Agency. RESULTS: Six thousand five hundred and seventy-eight new patients were removed at general practitioner (GP) request between 1987 and 1996. This equated to 3920 removal decisions, a rate of 2.43 per 10,000 person-years. The very young and young adults had the highest rates of removal; most of the young being removed as part of a family. Ten point six per cent of removed patients had a repeat removal, and 16.3% of first removal decisions required an assignment to another practice. Family removals have decreased and individual removals have increased over the 10 years. Disadvantaged and densely populated areas with high population turnover were associated with higher rates of removal, though heterogeneity is evident between general practitioners serving similar areas. Compared to the period 1987 to 1991, removal rates for the years 1992 to 1993 were reduced by 20.0% (95% confidence interval (CI) for rate ratio (RR) 0.73-0.87), and those for the years 1994 to 1996 increased by 8% (95% CI = 1.01-1.16). The greatest increase was in the over-75 years age group (standardized RR = 1.60; 95% CI = 1.57-1.62). CONCLUSIONS: Removals are relatively rare events for both patients and practices, though they have been increasing in recent years. Further research is needed to understand the processes that culminate in a removal. (+info)
Differences in physician compensation for cardiovascular services by age, sex, and race.
The purpose was to determine whether physicians receive substantially less compensation from patient groups (women, older patients, and nonwhite patients) that are reported to have low rates of utilization of cardiovascular services. Over an 18-month period we collected information on payments to physicians by 3,194 consecutive patients who underwent stress testing an 833 consecutive patients who underwent percutaneous coronary angioplasty at the Yale University Cardiology Practice. Although the charges for procedures were not related to patient characteristics, there were large and significant differences in payment to physicians based on age, sex, and race. For example, physicians who performed percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty received at least $2,500 from, or on behalf of, 72% of the patients 40 to 64 years old, 22% of the patients 65 to 74 years old, and 3% of the patients 75 years and older (P < 0.001); from 49% of the men and 28% of the women (P < 0.001); and 42% of the whites and 31% of the nonwhites (P < 0.001). Similar differences were observed for stress testing. These associations were largely explained by differences in insurance status. (+info)
Who should determine the medical necessity of dental sedation and general anesthesia? A clinical commentary supported by Illinois patient and practitioner surveys.
Many third-party payers try to deny benefits for dental sedation and general anesthesia. The term "not medically necessary" is often applied to these services by third-party payers. The label is poorly defined and varies from payer to payer. This paper uses original practitioner and patient opinion surveys to support the position that the definition of medical necessity is solely the joint responsibility of the patient and his/her physician. These surveys also support the argument that both patients and practitioners view dental sedation and general anesthesia as a medically necessary procedure if it allows a patient to complete a medically necessary surgical procedure that he/she might otherwise avoid. (+info)
Sexual harassment of psychiatric trainees: experiences and attitudes.
A survey was carried out of psychiatric trainees' work-related experiences of unwanted sexual contact. A structured postal questionnaire was administered to 100 psychiatric trainees from senior house officer to specialist registrar level in a large psychiatric rotation. There was an 85% response rate; 86% (73) of the sample had experienced unwanted sexual contact, with 47% (40) experiencing deliberate touching, leaning over or cornering, and 18% (15) receiving letters, telephone calls or material of a sexual nature. Three-quarters (64) of respondents had experienced unwanted sexual contact from patients and 64% (54) from staff. Experiences and attitudes did not generally differ by gender, grade or training experience. Four out of 48 female respondents described stalking by patients. Of the 39 respondents who had reported harassment by patients, 31 felt supported by colleagues, while of the 13 who had reported harassment by colleagues, eight felt supported. Two-thirds of the respondents considered sexual harassment 'some-times' or 'frequently' a problem for the profession. Diagnoses of confusional states, mania or schizophrenia made subjects less likely to consider unwanted sexual behaviour to be 'sexual harassment' (86%, 80%, and 67%, respectively), but not for other diagnoses. Levels of threatening and intrusive sexual harassment are unacceptably high in this study group. Health trusts should adopt policies of 'zero tolerance' and all incidents should be reported. Psychological impact on victims should be acknowledged even when the behaviour of the perpetrator can be explained by diagnosis. (+info)
Erosion in medical students' attitudes about telling patients they are students.
OBJECTIVE: To study the attitudes of preclinical and clinical medical students toward the importance of telling patients they are students, and to compare their attitudes with those of patients. METHODS: We conducted a cross-sectional survey of medical students from five Philadelphia medical schools, and a longitudinal follow-up in one medical school, to assess the importance students place on telling patients they are medical students before interacting with them. We asked similar questions of 100 general medical outpatients from two academically affiliated hospitals. MAIN RESULTS: In total, 2,603 students (58%) responded to the cross-sectional survey, 74 (50%) responded to the longitudinal survey, and 100 patients responded to our interview survey (94% response rate). In the cross-sectional survey, there were negligible differences in the importance that patients and medical students placed on informing alert patients that they are interacting with students in nonsurgical settings. In surgical settings involving anesthetized patients, patients placed significantly more importance on being informed of students' roles in their surgery than did students, and preclinical students placed more importance on this than did clinical students. Results from the cross-sectional survey were supported by the longitudinal survey, in which fourth-year medical students placed significantly less importance on informing patients of their student status than the same cohort had done 2 years previously. CONCLUSIONS: Medical students place less importance on informing patients about their student status than patients desire, especially in surgical settings in which the patient is to be anesthetized. Medical students already having completed a clinical rotation stray further from patient ideals than preclinical medical students. These findings suggest that, as medical students advance in their training, they suffer an erosion in their attitudes about telling patients they are students. (+info)
The 'pill scare': the responses of authorities, doctors and patients using oral contraception.
In October 1995, the regulatory authority in the UK issued a warning about an increased risk of venous thromboembolism in women taking third-generation combined oral contraceptives. This was done before publication of the scientific papers involved, and resulted in a huge media 'pill scare'. The manner in which the information was released has been criticised, as many doctors did not receive their 'Dear Doctor' letter from the regulatory authority until after media reporting. The result of the scare has been a loss of confidence in the oral contraceptive pill in general, and a rise in abortion rates. (+info)
Physicians' experiences with the Oregon Death with Dignity Act.
BACKGROUND: Physician-assisted suicide was legalized in Oregon in October 1997. There are data on patients who have received prescriptions for lethal medications and died after taking the medications. There is little information, however, on physicians' experiences with requests for assistance with suicide. METHODS: Between February and August 1999, we mailed a questionnaire to physicians who were eligible to prescribe lethal medications under the Oregon Death with Dignity Act. RESULTS: Of 4053 eligible physicians, 2649 (65 percent) returned the survey. Of the respondents, 144 (5 percent) had received a total of 221 requests for prescriptions for lethal medications since October 1997. We received information on the outcome in 165 patients (complete information for 143 patients and partial for on an additional 22). The mean age of the patients was 68 years; 76 percent had an estimated life expectancy of less than six months. Thirty-five percent requested a prescription from another physician. Twenty-nine patients (18 percent) received prescriptions, and 17 (10 percent) died from administering the prescribed medication. Twenty percent of the patients had symptoms of depression; none of these patients received a prescription for a lethal medication. In the case of 68 patients, including 11 who received prescriptions and 8 who died by taking the prescribed medication, the physician implemented at least one substantive palliative intervention, such as control of pain or other symptoms, referral to a hospice program, a consultation, or a trial of antidepressant medication. Forty-six percent of the patients for whom substantive interventions were made changed their minds about assisted suicide, as compared with 15 percent of those for whom no substantive interventions were made (P<0.001). CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that in Oregon, physicians grant about 1 in 6 requests for a prescription for a lethal medication and that 1 in 10 requests actually result in suicide. Substantive palliative interventions lead some--but not all--patients to change their minds about assisted suicide. (+info)
Proposing phase I studies: patients', relatives', nurses' and specialists' perceptions.
PURPOSE: As of now the primary objective of studies on informed consent in phase I trials has been to assess patients' expectations and reasons for participation. We have previously shown that the quantity of information provided through a procedure of subsequent oral interviews with patients was adequate while the attention paid by the physician to the emotional needs and concerns of patients was not. We wanted therefore to assess and compare the perceptions of the information provided about the investigational study of patients, relatives, the research nurse and the investigator responsible for the phase I trial and the impact this information had on the patients' level of anxiety and depression. PATIENTS AND METHODS: The participation to a phase I study was proposed to patients through two subsequent interviews, the latter attended also by patients' relatives, the research nurse and the investigator coordinating the phase I trial. After the second interview, attendees were requested to complete a questionnaire assessing the principal reason for participating in the study and the informative, emotional and interactive dimension of the information. Patients were also requested to complete the Hospital Anxiety and Depression (HAD) scale before and after the second interview. RESULTS: The completed questionnaires of 31 of 42 patients were retrieved and analysed. The possibility to benefit from the study was indicated as the main reason for participating by 59% of the patients while it was judged to be the case in 78% and 86% of the patients by the nurse and the investigator, respectively. The information was judged to be clear and sufficient in almost all cases by all attendees, while the investigator judged that a lower percentage of patients felt at ease and could express their main worries during the interview, had been helped and were less worried after it than it was judged by the nurse and the relatives. Patients' state of anxiety and depression was not adversely affected by the information provided. CONCLUSIONS: Informing patients on the option of receiving an investigational treatment within a phase I study is feasible and can be done in a way felt appropriate by patients and relatives, nursing and medical professionals. Providing information in an appropriate manner does not increase patients' anxiety and depression. Divergence between the aims and interests of the investigators and patients might explain the difference in the evaluation of physician, a problem which could perhaps be partially overcome by the application of innovative phase I designs. (+info)