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Patient and professional views of open access hysterosalpingography for the initial management of infertility in primary care.

Wilkes, S. and Rubin, G. and Crosland, A. and Hall, N. and Murdoch, A. (2009) 'Patient and professional views of open access hysterosalpingography for the initial management of infertility in primary care.', British journal of general practice., 59 (562). pp. 336-342.


Background Hysterosalpingography (HSG) is recommended as a first-line investigation for tubal assessment of infertile women. This investigation is not routinely available to GPs.Aim To explore the perceptions and attitudes of patients and health professionals to open access HSG for the initial management of infertile couples in general practice.Design of study A nested qualitative study using in-depth interviews with GPs, fertility specialists, and infertile couples.Setting Northumberland, Newcastle upon Tyne, North Tyneside, South Tyneside, and Gateshead.Method Participants were 39 interviewees: 12 GPs, five fertility specialists, and 13 infertile couples (nine interviewed with their partner).Results Four themes emerged: personal factors; will it benefit patients, GPs, and fertility specialists?; professional factors; does it fit the role of a GP?; local context; do the skills exist in general practice?; and wider context; will it benefit the NHS? GPs who had used open access HSG, felt it was appropriate for general practice and would continue to use the service. All GPs, fertility specialists, and infertile couples who had experienced open access HSG wished the service to remain in place. The main barriers to its uptake were: infrequency with which infertility presents; lack of clarity on perceived responsibilities; difficulty keeping up to date, including assimilating guidelines; low clinical priority; and lack of support in authoritative guidance.Conclusion Providing GPs with open access to HSG would allow a full initial assessment of the infertile couple and refer women with blocked tubes directly to tertiary care. While there is general support for the provision of such a facility, the majority of GPs perceive its use as being by a limited number of GPs who have a special interest in infertility. The study findings can inform future development of infertility services at the interface between primary and secondary/tertiary care.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Attitudes, Family practice, Health services accessibility, Hysterosalpingography, Infertility, Perceptions, Primary health care.
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Record Created:12 Aug 2011 13:35
Last Modified:13 Dec 2017 09:34

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