Background Community specialist palliative care is an important part of a specialist palliative care service, but it is useful to evaluate what primary care professionals think of the current service
Method In October 2010, a questionnaire was sent out to all General practitioners and community nurses in Calderdale with support from the primary care trust.
Results 252 questionnaires were sent out and 128 replies were received with a response rate of 51%. This included 60 General Practitioners and 68 nurses. 76% GPs and 58 % of nurses said they did refer to the specialist palliative care team. With regard to the overall usefulness of specialist palliative care team involvement on a scale of 1–5(1=poor–5=excellent) the average score was 4.22 83% felt they would refer to the palliative care team on need rather than diagnosis. Only 3% felt that the specialist palliative care team had sometimes been involved inappropriately. With regard to education from the team 56% preferred in house education at their practice rather than evening sessions or study days, with symptom control, non-malignant palliative care and advance care planning being the favoured topics.
Conclusion The aim of the community specialist palliative care team is to deliver a good quality service for the benefit of the patient. Since for the majority of patients their preferred of place of care and death is home it is important that the team work closely with primary care. Overall the response was very positive and provided useful information on the educational needs for community teams. In light of the changes in primary care and the introduction of GP commissioning in the UK this information supports and provides evidence to commissioners and stakeholders of the importance of specialist palliative care in the community.
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