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, 49 (439), 99-102

Impact of a National Campaign on GP Education: An Evaluation of the Defeat Depression Campaign


Impact of a National Campaign on GP Education: An Evaluation of the Defeat Depression Campaign

S Rix et al. Br J Gen Pract.


Background: The Defeat Depression Campaign, which was run by the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) from 1992 to 1996, aimed to educate general practitioners (GPs) to recognize and manage depression.

Aim: To measure the educational impact on GPs of the Defeat Depression Campaign.

Method: A postal survey using a structured questionnaire was distributed to 2046 GPs obtained by systematically sampling 1 in 14 GPs from alphabetical lists from family health services authorities (FHSAs) in England and Wales. The questionnaire covered awareness of the campaign, awareness and use of campaign materials, and ratings of the usefulness of the campaign in relation to other educational activities.

Results: Two-thirds of GPs were aware of the campaign and 40% had definitely or possibly made changes in practice as a result of it. Impact of materials was highest for a consensus statement on the recognition and management of depression in general practice and for guidelines derived from it, each of which had been read in detail by about one quarter of responders and was known of by an additional one third. Impact was low for the other materials. The campaign had the highest impact among younger GPs, members of the RCGP, and (less strongly) among those who had undertaken a six-month post in psychiatry, those who were working in larger practices and fundholding practices, and women; 56% of GPs had attended a teaching session on depression in the past three years.

Conclusion: A national campaign of this kind can have a useful impact, but it needs to be supplemented by local and practice-based teaching activities.

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