A mixed-methods evaluation of patients’ views on primary care multi-disciplinary teams in Scotland

Kieran Sweeney*, Eddie Donaghy, David Henderson, Harry H.X Wang, Andy Thompson, Bruce Guthrie, Stewart W Mercer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Expanding primary care multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs) was a key component of the 2018 Scottish GP contract, with over 4,700 MDT staff appointed since then.

To explore patients’ views on primary care MDT expansion in Scotland.

Design and methods
(1) Survey of patients recently consulting a GP in deprived-urban, affluent-urban and remote/rural areas, assessing awareness of five MDT roles and attitudes towards receptionist signposting; (2) 30 individual interviews exploring MDT-care experiences.

Of 1,053 survey respondents, most were unaware of the option of MDT rather than GP consultations for three out of five roles (69% unaware of link worker appointments; 68% mental health nurse; 58% pharmacist). Reception signposting was less popular in deprived-urban areas (34% unhappy vs 29% in remote/rural vs 21% affluent-urban; p<0.001), and in patients with multimorbidity (31% unhappy vs 24% in non-multimorbid; p<0.05).

Two-thirds of interviewees had multimorbidity and almost all reported positive MDT-care experiences. However, MDT-care was generally seen as a supplement rather than a substitute for GP care. Around half of patients expressed concerns about reception signposting. These patients were more likely to also express concerns about GP access in general. Both of these concerns were more common in deprived-urban areas than in remote/rural or affluent-urban areas.

MDT-care has expanded in Scotland with limited patient awareness. Although patients understand its potential value, many are unhappy with reception signposting to first-contact MDT care, especially those in deprived-urban areas living with multimorbidity. This represents a barrier to the aims of the new GP contract.
Original languageEnglish
JournalBritish Journal of General Practice Open (BJGP Open)
Early online date25 Apr 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Apr 2024


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