Patients' views on improving sickle cell disease management in primary care: focus group discussion

JRSM Short Rep. 2012 Dec;3(12):84. doi: 10.1258/shorts.2012.011153. Epub 2012 Dec 27.


Objectives: To assess sickle cell disease (SCD) patient and carer perspectives on the primary care services related to SCD that they receive from their general practitioner (GP).

Design: A focus group discussion was used to elicit the views of patients about the quality of care they receive from their primary health-care providers and what they thought was the role of primary care in SCD management. The focus group discussion was video recorded. The recording was then examined by the project team and recurring themes were identified. A comparison was made with notes made by two scribes also present at the discussion.

Setting: Sickle Cell Society in Brent, UK.

Participants: Ten participants with SCD or caring for someone with SCD from Northwest London, UK.

Main outcome measures: Patients' perceptions about the primary care services they received, and a list of key themes and suggestions.

Results: Patients and carers often bypassed GPs for acute problems but felt that GPs had an important role to play around repeat prescriptions and general health care. These service users believed SCD is often ignored and deemed unimportant by GPs.

Conclusion: Participants wanted the health service to support primary health-care providers to improve their knowledge and understanding of SCD. Key themes and suggestions from this focus group have been used to help develop an educational intervention for general practice services that will be used to improve SCD management in primary care.