Introduction and aims The role of primary care in the provision of cancer care is poorly defined. Practices in are offered a financial incentive to conduct a review with new patients within 6 months of diagnosis, but the extent to which these reviews occur and their scope and perceived usefulness is unknown. The purpose of this study was to explore the role of primary care in caring for and supporting cancer patients and their families.
Method Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 38 patients, diagnosed within the last 3 years. Patients were stratified by time since diagnosis, and a maximum variation sampling strategy was employed to achieve heterogeneity in terms of cancer type and socio-demographic variables. We interviewed 19 males and 19 females, with a range of 14 different cancers. Patients were invited to ask their partner/close relative to participate – 24 family members were interviewed.
Results Although generally satisfied with their GP practice, most patients were unaware of having had a review or any specific discussion of their cancer-related care, despite records indicating the contrary. Most patients and family members would have welcomed pro-active involvement from their GP practice and felt that a designated review appointment would provide a good opportunity to raise any concerns.
Conclusions Although patients and family members see an important role for primary care in cancer follow-up care this is not universally being delivered at present and there is real scope for improving practice in this area.
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