Do primary care professionals work as a team: A qualitative study
Shaw A., de Lusignan S., Rowlands G.
Teamworking is a vital element in the delivery of primary healthcare. There is evidence that well organised multidisciplinary teams are more effective in developing quality of care. Personal Medical Services (PMS) is a health reform that allows general practices more autonomy and flexibility in delivering quality based primary care. Practices in the locality where this study was conducted were offered resources to employ additional staff. Such arrangements provided the opportunity to expand and develop Primary Care Teams. In this qualitative study, semi-structured interviews were conducted with primary care professionals in 21 second wave PMS practices. Some participants felt they had used PMS to build their teams and develop quality based patient care. For other practices teamworking was limited by the absence of a common goal, recruitment difficulties, inadequate communication and hierarchical structures, and prevented practices from moving forward with clear direction. The study indicates that changing the contractual arrangements does not necessarily improve teamworking. It highlights the need for more sustained educational and quality improvement initiatives to encourage greater collaboration and understanding between healthcare professionals. © 2005 Taylor & Francis Group Ltd.