Research: UK

Here are some examples of research findings by practices and PCTs using the 'What should I do?' patient care materials to support their programmes.

Independent evaluation

Independent evaluation of the What should I do? programme in the UK has found that people are receptive to learning about the self-care of everyday minor illness. NOP Healthcare, one of the UK's leading market research organisations used a two-stage research methodology to assess patient reaction to the What should I do? programme implemented in the Bexley & Greenwich Health Authority area.

  • 82% of patients kept the booklet for future reference.
  • 38% of respondents read the booklet thoroughly.
  • 45% glanced through the booklet.
  • 94% of respondents perceived the booklet as very/quite useful.
  • 44% stated that the booklet had changed the way they dealt with a minor ailment.

London

NOP Healthcare's research into the effectiveness of the What should I do? Programme in Bexley & Greenwich used the following:

  • Pre-programme survey by NOP Healthcare (500 face to face interviews).
  • Letter box drop of short information and advertising flyer
  • Carer's briefing
  • Booklet distribution
  • Point of 'sale/distribution' advertising
  • Mid point programme survey by NOP Healthcare (1000 face to face interviews)
  • Ethnic minority and disabled self care information
  • Extension to the Bexley households

Bradford

Bradford Health Authority

  • Patient education for the treatment of minor illnesses in Bradford
  • Patient education initiative started in 1997 by Dr John Halloran, RCGP member and medical advisor at Bradford Health Authority

STUDY:

To develop and implement an educational initiative that would inform local populations about self-care of minor illnesses.

AIM:

To reduce GP-patient consultations for the treatment of minor illnesses.

RESULTS & EVALUATION:

First year research - 500 patients surveyed in Bradford regarding the initiative.

  1. 54% of patients said that it was the bilingual English/Urdu booklet call 'Treat minor illnesses by yourself' which encouraged them to use the 'What should I do?' booklet.
  2. 77% said the 'What should I do?' booklets had changed the way they had dealt with a minor condition.
  3. 10% said the 'What should I do?' Urdu leaflets had changed the way they had dealt with a minor condition
  4. 35% found the 'What should I do?' Urdu leaflets to be very useful
  5. 71% of patients kept the 'What should I do?' booklet for reference

 

Second year research - A further 500 patients were surveyed.

  1. 90% agreed that minor illnesses were self-limiting and could be treated on their own.
  2. 75% of patients said that prescriptions from the doctor were not always necessary for minor conditions
  3. 64% had sought advice from the pharmacist first or treated themselves before going to the doctor

Newport, Wales

STUDY:

To evaluate whether the distribution of a booklet on the self-management of illness had any impact on a GP's workload. Undertaken by Jane Thomas & Roger Walker using 'What should I do? Do I go to the doctor?' as evaluation sample.

METHOD:

Six month study targeting 4,500 patients with 'What should I do?' booklet in Newport.

RESULTS:

91% recalled receiving the booklet and of this group 54% had read the booklet thoroughly and 43% glanced through it.

Respondents who were over 60 were even more likely to have read the booklet thoroughly, found it useful, referred to it and retained it for future reference.

The study also established that the over 60s who had received a copy of the booklet were less likely to attend a clinic and less likely to request out-of-hours medical services from the GP.

44% stated the booklet has changed the way they dealt with a minor ailment

77% said the 'What should I do?' booklets had changed the way they dealt with a minor condition

...over 60s who had received a copy of the booklet were less likely to attend a clinic