Singlehanded doctors are not underperforming

August 09, 2001

Singlehanded general practitioners in the United Kingdom are not underperforming clinically, despite government concerns about professional isolation and quality standards, finds a study in this week's BMJ.

Researchers compared the performance of 206 singlehanded practices and 606 group practices in the Trent region of the United Kingdom using information on hospital admissions and achievement of clinical targets within the practice. The team found important differences for three types of hospital admission. However, after taking other practice characteristics into account - such as level of deprivation, the percentage of black and Asian residents and the proportion of patients over 75 years - there were no remaining substantial differences.

We have found no evidence in this study that singlehanded general practitioners are underperforming clinically, say the authors. Despite some important limitations, the results offer insight into the structural differences between the two types of practice and underline the importance of other practice characteristics such as deprivation, they conclude.
Do single handed practices offer poorer care?: cross sectional survey of processes and outcomes BMJ Volume 323, pp 320-323


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