Inner-city GPs' views about genetics: an educational needs assessment

Bennett, Catherine; Tahir, M.; Farndon, P.
September 2003
Journal of Medical Genetics;Sep2003 Supplement, Vol. 40, pS40
Academic Journal
Several studies have examined GPs knowledge of and attitudes to genetics and recommended increased educational input. As part of a health authority initiative to reduce perinatal and infant mortality in Birmingham, a genetics education programme for GPs was proposed and a needs analysis conducted. A qualitative, semi-structured interview methodology was used. Twenty GPs from one Primary Care Trust (PCT) were invited to take part; 14 interviews were recorded, transcribed and analysed. Questions covered: genetic knowledge and understanding, beliefs and attitudes, current service provision, views on future involvement and training needs. The future importance of genetics was widely recognised. However, the GPs reported little current involvement in diagnosis, referral and follow up of patients with genetic conditions. They said all GPs should be able to assess genetic risk and facilitate referral to specialist genetic services. The PCT-organised 'Protected Learning Time' was the best route to reach all GPs with essential genetic education. Views of the future for genetics in primary care were more variable. Many GPs said they would like to provide an increased service — if it was properly resourced and coordinated, but current staffing, resources and other national and local priorities were prohibitive. Clearly GP education is important, but must support a well defined service. The implications for the provision of education will be explored.


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