'I know what to do but it's not possible to do it' - general practitioners' perceptions of their ability to detect psychological distress in their patients

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Background: Accurate detection of psychological distress in patients is a prerequisite of specific diagnosis and active management. Studies have shown that improved detection is related to altered management and to improved patient outcomes: there may also be a link with improved patient satisfaction.

Objective: Many factors in the doctor, patient, and context of the consultation may influence whether or not a GP identifies psychological distress in a patient; whatever the triggers to detection, it has been shown that specific training in appropriate skills can alter clinician behaviour and improve detection rate. This study examined the GPs' own perceptions of the influences on their performance as detectors of psychological distress.

Method: A postal questionnaire yielded nineteen GPs who were personally interviewed for the study.

Results and conclusions: The study highlights GPs' sense of the difference between possessing the necessary skills and employing them in daily practice. This has implications for training and clinical practice in this area.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-131
Number of pages5
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1996

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