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GPs’ views of health policy changes: a qualitative ‘netnography’ study of UK general practice online magazine commentary

Elvey, Rebecca, Voorhees, Jennifer, Bailey, Simon, Burns, Taylor, Hodgson, Damian (2018) GPs’ views of health policy changes: a qualitative ‘netnography’ study of UK general practice online magazine commentary. British Journal of General Practice, 68 (671). e441-e448. ISSN 0960-1643. (doi:10.3399/bjgp18X696161)

Abstract

Background: Shifts in health policy since 2010 have brought major structural changes to the English NHS, with government stating intentions to increase GPs’ autonomy and improve access to care. Meanwhile, GPs’ levels of job satisfaction are low, while stress levels are high. PulseToday is a popular UK general practice online magazine that provides a key discussion forum on news relevant to general practice. Aim: To analyse readers’ reactions to news stories about health policy changes published in an online general practice magazine. Design: and setting A qualitative ’netnography’ was undertaken of readers’ comments to PulseToday. Method: A sample of readers’ comments on articles published in PulseToday was collated and subjected to thematic analysis. Results: Around 300 comments on articles published between January 2012 and March 2016 were included in the analysis, using ‘access to care’ as a tracer theme. Concern about the demand and strain on general practice was perhaps to be expected. However, analysis revealed various dimensions to this concern: GPs’ underlying feelings about their work and place in the NHS; constraints to GPs’ control of their own working practices; a perceived loss of respect for the role of GP; and disappointment with representative bodies and GP leadership.

Conclusion: This study shows a complex mix of resistance and resignation in general practice about the changing character of GPs’ roles. This ambivalence deserves further attention because it could potentially shape responses to further change in primary care in ways that are as yet unknown.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3399/bjgp18X696161
Uncontrolled keywords: access to health care, general practice, health services research, healthcare reform, qualitative research, work–life balance
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Social Policy Sociology and Social Research > Centre for Health Services Studies
Depositing User: Simon Bailey
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2019 10:46 UTC
Last Modified: 26 Sep 2019 09:23 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/76202 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Bailey, Simon: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9142-2791
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