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1.
BMJ Open ; 11(7), 2021.
Article in English | ProQuest Central | ID: covidwho-1842606

ABSTRACT

ObjectiveTo describe primary health care (consultation characteristics and management) for patients contacting their general practitioner (GP) with a respiratory tract infection (RTI) early on in the COVID-19 pandemic in contrasting European countries, with comparison to prepandemic findings.SettingPrimary care in 16 countries (79 practices), when no routine SARS-CoV-2 testing was generally available.Design and participantsBefore (n=4376) and early in the pandemic (n=3301), patients with RTI symptoms were registered in this prospective audit study.Outcome measuresConsultation characteristics (type of contact and use of PPE) and management characteristics (clinical assessments, diagnostic testing, prescribing, advice and referral) were registered. Differences in these characteristics between countries and between pandemic and prepandemic care are described.ResultsCare for patients with RTIs rapidly switched to telephone/video consultations (10% in Armenia, 91% in Denmark), and when consultations were face-to-face, GPs used PPE during 97% (95% CI 96% to 98%) of contacts. Laboratory testing for SARS-CoV-2 in primary care patients with RTIs was rapidly implemented in Denmark (59%) and Germany (31%), while overall testing for C reactive protein decreased. The proportion of patients prescribed antibiotics varied considerably between countries (3% in Belgium, 48% in UK) and was lower during the pandemic compared with the months before, except for Greece, Poland and UK. GPs provided frequent and varied COVID-related advice and more frequently scheduled a follow-up contact (50%, 95% CI 48% to 52%). GPs reported a slightly higher degree of confidence in the likely effectiveness of their management in face-to-face (73% (very) confident, 95% CI 71% to 76%) than in virtual consultations (69%, 95% CI 67% to 71%).ConclusionsDespite between-country variation in consultation characteristics, access to SARS-CoV-2 laboratory testing and medication prescribing, GPs reported a high degree of confidence in managing their patients with RTIs in the emerging pandemic. Insight in the highly variable pandemic responses, as measured in this multicountry audit, can aid in fine-tuning national action and in coordinating a pan-European response during future pandemic threats.

3.
BJGP Open ; 2022 Apr 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1627151

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on patients' and clinicians' perceptions of healthcare-seeking behaviour and delivery of care is unclear. The pandemic accelerated the use of remote care, and understanding its benefits and drawbacks may inform its implementation during current and future healthcare emergencies. AIM: To explore patients' and primary care professionals' (PCPs) experiences of primary care delivery in the first wave of the pandemic. DESIGN & SETTING: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews in primary care in eight European countries (England, Ireland, Belgium, the Netherlands, Greece, Poland, Sweden, and Germany). METHOD: A total of 146 interviews were conducted with 80 PCPs and 66 patients consulting for respiratory tract infection (RTI) symptoms, in eight European countries. Data were collected between April and July 2020, and analysed using thematic analysis. RESULTS: It was found that patients accepted telemedicine when PCPs spent time to understand and address their concerns, but a minority preferred in-person consultations. PCPs felt that remote consultations created emotional distance between themselves and patients, and they reported having to manage diverse COVID-19-related medical and social concerns. CONCLUSION: Remote consultations for RTI symptoms may be acceptable long term if both groups are happy to use this format, but it is important that PCPs take time to address patients' concerns and provide safety-netting advice.

4.
Front Med (Lausanne) ; 8: 726319, 2021.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1441118

ABSTRACT

Background: Minimising primary care professionals' (PCPs) risk of SARS-CoV-2 infection is crucial to ensure their safety as well as functioning health care system. PCPs' perspectives on the support they needed in the early stages of a public health crisis can inform future preparedness. Aim: To understand PCPs' experiences of providing care during the COVID-19 pandemic, with focus on personal risk from COVID-19 and testing. Design and Setting: Qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with PCPs in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Greece and Sweden, between April and July 2020. Method: Interviews were analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. Results: Eighty interviews were conducted, showing that PCPs tried to make sense of their risk of both contracting and severity of COVID-19 by assessing individual risk factors and perceived effectiveness of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They had limited access to PPE yet continued providing care as their "duty." Some PCPs felt that they were put in high-risk situations when patients or colleagues were not flagging symptoms of COVID-19. Not having access to testing in the initial stages of the pandemic was somewhat accepted but when available, was valued. Conclusion: Access to adequate PPE and testing, as well as training for staff and education for patients about the importance of ensuring staff safety is crucial. Given PCPs' varied response in how they appraised personal risk and their tolerance for working, PCPs may benefit from the autonomy in deciding how they want to work during health emergencies.

5.
Br J Gen Pract ; 71(709): e634-e642, 2021 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1299600

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Primary care has a crucial role in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic as the first point of patient care and gatekeeper to secondary care. Qualitative studies exploring the experiences of healthcare professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic have mainly focused on secondary care. AIM: To gain an understanding of the experiences of European primary care professionals (PCPs) working during the first peak of the COVID-19 pandemic. DESIGN AND SETTING: An exploratory qualitative study, using semi-structured interviews in primary care in England, Belgium, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Greece, and Sweden, between April and July 2020. METHOD: Interviews were audiorecorded, transcribed, and analysed using a combination of inductive and deductive thematic analysis techniques. RESULTS: Eighty interviews were conducted with PCPs. PCPs had to make their own decisions on how to rapidly transform services in relation to COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 care. Despite being overwhelmed with guidance, they often lacked access to practical training. Consequently, PCPs turned to their colleagues for moral support and information to try to quickly adjust to new ways of working, including remote care, and to deal with uncertainty. CONCLUSION: PCPs rapidly transformed primary care delivery despite a number of challenges. Representation of primary care at policy level and engagement with local primary care champions are needed to facilitate easy and coordinated access to practical information on how to adapt services, ongoing training, and access to appropriate mental health support services for PCPs. Preservation of autonomy and responsiveness of primary care are critical to preserve the ability for rapid transformation in any future crisis of care delivery.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Pandemics , Belgium , Delivery of Health Care , England , Europe/epidemiology , Germany , Humans , Ireland , Netherlands , Poland , Primary Health Care , Qualitative Research , SARS-CoV-2 , Sweden
6.
Int J Environ Res Public Health ; 17(23)2020 12 04.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-965307

ABSTRACT

(1) Background: Cardiometabolic diseases are the most common cause of death worldwide. As part of a collaborative European study, this paper aims to explore the implementation of primary care selective-prevention services in five European countries. We assessed the implementation process of the selective-prevention services, participants' cardiometabolic profile and risk and participants' evaluation of the services, in terms of feasibility and impact in promoting a healthy lifestyle. (2) Methods: Eligible participants were primary care patients, 40-65 years of age, without any diagnosis of cardiometabolic disease. Two hundred patients were invited to participate per country. The extent to which participants adopted and completed the implementation of selective-prevention services was recorded. Patient demographics, lifestyle-related cardiometabolic risk factors and opinions on the implementation's feasibility were also collected. (3) Results: Acceptance rates varied from 19.5% (n = 39/200) in Sweden to 100% (n = 200/200) in the Czech Republic. Risk assessment completion rates ranged from 65.4% (n = 70/107) in Greece to 100% (n = 39/39) in Sweden. On a ten-point scale, the median (25-75% quartile) of participant-reported implementation feasibility ranged from 7.4 (6.9-7.8) in Greece to 9.2 (8.2-9.9) in Sweden. Willingness to change lifestyle exceeded 80% in all countries. (4) Conclusions: A substantial variation in the implementation of selective-prevention receptiveness and patient risk profile was observed among countries. Our findings suggest that the design and implementation of behavior change cardiometabolic programmes in each country should be informed by the local context and provide some background evidence towards this direction, which can be even more relevant during the current pandemic period.


Subject(s)
Cardiovascular Diseases , Primary Health Care , Adult , Aged , Cardiovascular Diseases/epidemiology , Cardiovascular Diseases/prevention & control , Czech Republic , Europe , Female , Greece , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Sweden/epidemiology
7.
Int J Integr Care ; 20(4): 4, 2020 Oct 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-902834

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic puts health and care systems under pressure globally. This current paper highlights challenges arising in the care for older and vulnerable populations in this context and reflects upon possible perspectives for different systems making use of nested integrated care approaches adapted during the work of the EU-funded project VIGOUR ("Evidence based Guidance to Scale-up Integrated Care in Europe", funded by the European Union's Health Programme 2014-2020 under Grant Agreement Number 826640).

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