Intervention against Excessive Alcohol Consumption in Primary Health Care: A Survey of GPs' Attitudes and Practices in England 10 Years On

Graeme B. Wilson*, Catherine A. Lock, Nick Heather, Paul Cassidy, Marilyn M. Christie, Eileen F. S. Kaner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aims: To ascertain the views of general practitioners (GPs) regarding the prevention and management of alcohol-related problems in practice, together with perceived barriers and incentives for this work; to compare our findings with a comparable survey conducted 10 years earlier. Methods: In total, 282 (73%) of 419 GPs surveyed in East Midlands, UK, completed a postal questionnaire, measuring practices and attitudes, including the Shortened Alcohol and Alcohol Problems Perception Questionnaire (SAAPPQ). Results: GPs reported lower levels of post-graduate education or training on alcohol-related issues (<4 h for the majority) than in 1999 but not significantly so (P = 0.031). In the last year, GPs had most commonly requested more than 12 blood tests and managed 1-6 patients for alcohol. Reports of these preventive practices were significantly increased from 1999 (P <0.001). Most felt that problem or dependent drinkers' alcohol issues could be legitimately (88%, 87%) and adequately (78%, 69%) addressed by GPs. However, they had low levels of motivation (42%, 35%), task-related self-esteem (53%, 49%) and job satisfaction (15%, 12%) for this. Busyness (63%) and lack of training (57%) or contractual incentives (48%) were key barriers. Endorsement for government policies on alcohol was very low. Conclusion: Among GPs, there still appears to be a gap between actual practice and potential for preventive work relating to alcohol problems; they report little specific training and a lack of support. Translational work on understanding the evidence-base supporting screening and brief intervention could incentivize intervention against excessive drinking and embedding it into everyday primary care practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-577
Number of pages8
JournalAlcohol and alcoholism
Volume46
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • GENERAL-PRACTITIONERS
  • NATIONAL-SURVEY
  • RESPONSE RATES
  • GLOBAL BURDEN
  • USE DISORDERS
  • PROFESSIONALS
  • MANAGEMENT
  • NURSES
  • DRINKERS
  • BARRIERS

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