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Managing LUTS in primary care: qualitative study of GPs’ and patients’ experiences

Milosevic, Sarah, Joseph-Williams, Natalie, Pell, Bethan, Cain, Elizabeth, Hackett, Robyn, Murdoch, Ffion, Ahmed, Haroon, Allen, A. Joy, Bray, Alison, Thomas-Jones, Emma, Harding, Chris and Edwards, Adrian 2021. Managing LUTS in primary care: qualitative study of GPs’ and patients’ experiences. British Journal of General Practice 10.3399/BJGP.2020.1043

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Abstract

Background: Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS) are common in older men and impact considerably on their quality of life. Management can be complex, and although most LUTS could be treated effectively in primary care, referrals to urology outpatients are increasing. The experiences of General Practitioners (GPs) and patients relating to the management of LUTS have not yet been fully explored. Aim: To explore GPs’ experiences of managing LUTS, together with patients’ experiences of and preferences for treatment in primary care. Design and setting: Qualitative telephone interviews with GPs and male patients presenting to primary care with bothersome LUTS. Method: Eleven GPs and 25 male patients were purposively sampled from 20 GP practices in 3 UK regions. Interviews were conducted between May 2018 and January 2019 and analysed using a framework approach. Results: Difficulty establishing causes and differentiating between prostate and bladder symptoms were key challenges to the diagnosis of LUTS in primary care, making treatment often a process of trial and error. Pharmacological treatments were commonly ineffective and often caused side-effects. Despite this, patients were generally satisfied with GP consultations and expressed a preference for treatment in primary care. Conclusion: Managing LUTS in primary care is a more accessible option for patients. Given the challenges of LUTS diagnosis, an effective diagnostic tool for use by GPs would be beneficial. Ensuring bothersome LUTS are not dismissed as a normal part of ageing is essential in improving patients’ quality of life. Greater exploration of the role of non-pharmacological treatments is needed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Medicine
Centre for Trials Research (CNTRR)
Publisher: Royal College of General Practitioners
ISSN: 0960-1643
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 29 April 2021
Date of Acceptance: 13 April 2021
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2021 12:41
URI: http://orca.cardiff.ac.uk/id/eprint/140847

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