Factors Influencing the Uptake of Continuing Medical Education in General Practice

Murray, Thomas Stuart (1994) Factors Influencing the Uptake of Continuing Medical Education in General Practice. MD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The 1990 General Practice Contract included a new postgraduate education allowance which the Government expected would stimulate interest among educational organisations and lead to the availability of an increased variety of courses. To claim the allowance general practitioners would have to submit evidence that they had attended an average of five days education a year and that they had achieved a reasonable balance in the topic areas and also between the years. An educational scheme was set up in the West of Scotland to cope with the new arrangements. This allowed examination of the factors influencing the uptake of continuing medical education among general practitioners and also allowed their educational achievements and characteristics to be studied over a three year period. Previous literature had stated concern about the uptake of continuing education among general practitioners and in the first year of the new allowance almost 95% of general practitioners attended sufficient meetings to claim this allowance. Initially meetings which were contract based or related were the most popular, with Service Management and Health Promotion being more popular categories than Disease Management. With regard to timing of the meetings, evenings were preferred when a large range of options was given. 102 doctors (5.7%) did not claim their first allowance. These doctors were more likely to work in urban areas, be single-handed and have been qualified for more than 30 years. 171 (9.5%) were high attenders and were more likely to work in urban areas, be female, Members of the Royal College of General Practitioners and work in a training practice. They were between 10 and 30 years from qualification and worked in larger group practices. There was considerable variation in the educational credits obtained by general practitioners, with 4.2% completing more than double the requirement. Within the region doctors attended in excess of what was required by the new regulations and met the category provisions which were defined in the Statement of Fees and Allowances. A regional package with an annual charge was a viable and popular option to meet the requirements of the postgraduate education allowance. Despite the changes in the delivery of continuing medical education, doctors continued to attend courses outwith their own region. The centrally organised educational scheme for the region was more likely to give a balanced spread and to meet the educational requirements of the 1990 Contract. This was true for all three categories but was particularly true for Health Promotion and Service Management Over the period of the study the following factors had a small but significant bearing on attendance at meetings; location of practice, whether working fulltime or part-time, or in a training practice, marital status and being a Member of the Royal College of General Practitioners. This information is important to Primary Care Departments and others involved in the delivery of health care and also to organisers of educational meetings. An examination of the characteristics of doctors who attended meetings funded by the pharmaceutical industry suggested that they worked predominantly in single-handed or two person practices and were less likely to be involved in training or be Members of the Royal College of General Practitioners. There was also an over-representation of doctors from ethnic minorities. The uptake of continuing medical education in general practitioners was greatly affected by the educational changes in the 1990 Contract. These changes stimulated a considerable interest in education and resulted in an increased variety of courses. A complete picture is presented over a three year period of the educational achievements of over 1800 general practitioners. Reviewing this work and other recent literature on the topic suggests that individualised, personal education plans is the way forward, with the doctor responsible for his own education. The study has shown that particular groups require more help and should be a starting point for any new strategy.

Item Type: Thesis (MD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Medicine, Health education
Date of Award: 1994
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1994-74972
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 14:50
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 14:50
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/74972

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