Self-care in primary care: findings from a longitudinal comparison study.

AM Bagnall, J South, MJ Forshaw, C Spoor, P Marchant, K Witty, AK White

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


To examine the effects of self-care training workshops for primary healthcare workers on frequently attending patients.

Interventions to promote self-care in frequent users of primary care services have had mixed results. This paper reports an evaluation of a self-care initiative that aimed to develop a practice-based strategy to support self-care.

A 12-month longitudinal-matched comparison study was carried out in seven intervention and four comparison practices. The intervention was a multidisciplinary training package delivered to Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) and practice staff in three workshops, over a three- to six-month period. Twenty-one managers, health professionals and other staff from participating practices and PCTs and 1454 patients were involved in the study. ‘Frequently attending’ patients were defined as having visited the practice more than eight times in the previous year, and were identified from practice registers and recruited by letter.

Three sets of data were obtained: psychometric scores and other data from structured questionnaires; routinely collected data on use of healthcare services; and self-care beliefs and behaviour from qualitative interviews.

Study recruitment rate was 20% and retention rate 75%. Of those recruited 66% were female and the majority (94.8%) were White. There was poor uptake of the training programme within the participating practices, with few changes agreed or implemented. Few healthcare professionals consented to take part in the evaluation. No significant changes were seen in patients’ use of health services, psychometric scores or self-care beliefs or behaviour.

The initiative did not show any effects during its pilot phase. Uptake and implementation were adversely affected by competing pressures for time and resources in primary care, coupled with a lack of engagement from primary health care professionals.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)29-39
JournalPrimary health care research & development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Apr 2012


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