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Managing long-term worklessness in primary care: a focus group study

Cohen, Deborah Anne, Marfell, Naomi, Webb, Katie Louise, Robling, Mike and Aylward, Mansel 2009. Managing long-term worklessness in primary care: a focus group study. Occupational Medicine 60 (2) , pp. 121-126. 10.1093/occmed/kqp169

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Background Evidence suggests that overall the benefits of work are greater than the harmful effects of long-term unemployment and prolonged sickness absence. General practitioners (GPs) often feel that work and health-related issues extend beyond their role. There is a paucity of research that focuses on GPs’ attitudes to the management of long-term worklessness. Aims To explore GPs’ perceptions of the management of individuals in receipt of long-term incapacity benefits and their attitudes to UK government funded return to work programmes such as the Want2Work scheme in Wales. Methods A qualitative study set in South Wales. Focus groups were conducted with GPs and explored the role of primary care and the challenges that GPs face when managing long-term worklessness and how the Want2Work programme might benefit GP practice. Data were analysed using the framework method of analysis. Results The main themes that emerged from the GP focus groups were role boundaries, responsibilities, negotiation and knowledge. A key finding was that many of the participants felt that their role in managing long-term worklessness was limited to providing support and management of health-related issues only. The perceived risk to their own personal safety in addressing these issues with some patients also impacted on GPs’ decision making Conclusions There seems to be a clear divide between managing patients’ health concerns and their work-related activities. Some GPs recognized that patients became ‘lost’ in their system once receiving long-term benefits.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Work Environment Research Centre (CWERC)
Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HN Social history and conditions. Social problems. Social reform
Uncontrolled Keywords: communication; long-term incapacity; physician–patient relationship
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISSN: 0962-7480
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2022 10:17

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