Aims To evaluate primary care attitudes towards integrated child health in a rural area served by a district general hospital in light of the recommendations in the ‘Facing the Future Together for Child Health’ document
Methods A printed survey proforma was sent to the safeguarding leads at all practices (n=26) which typically refer to a rural district hospital. Responses were collated and evaluated by the team. The response rate was 21/26 (80%).
Results 5/21 (24%) GPs reported not using an existing telephone advice line, and several commented they were unaware of this service. While all but one GP had used the Early Access Clinic, four (19%) were unsure about the referral criteria or process. Only three practices were aware of the role of the community paediatric nurses. Although a local pathway covering primary and secondary care exists for diarrhoea and vomiting, none of the respondents were aware of this. 15/21 (71%) expressed interest in accessing hospital patient information leaflets. 10/21 respondents reported staff from their practice would be interested in spending time on the Paediatric Assessment Unit and there was interest in more education for primary care professionals about paediatric topics. However only 8/21 (38%) of practices reported staff would be interested in attending ‘in-reach’ clinics at the hospital and only 7/21 (33%) would be interested in hosting paediatric ‘outreach’ clinics run by paediatricians.
Conclusions There was a lack of awareness about currently available paediatric services among primary care practitioners. Integrated care could be facilitated by increasing awareness of existing services as well as by developing new services. Although this was a small localised survey and some opportunities to develop integrated care were identified, there may be challenges in fully implementing the recommendations of ‘Facing the Future Together for Child Health’. Successful development of integrated care will require collaboration between colleagues in both primary and secondary care, and an appreciation of each other’s perspectives. Using a paper survey allowed for additional insights to be obtained in the form of unsolicited comments in the margin.
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