Background To get an indication of the number of GPs in central west London that request stool tests from paediatric patients presenting with diarrhoea, what tests are requested and whether guidelines are used.
Method A survey was used to gather information from 19 GPs working in west London. Information regarding reasons for requesting stool tests, what tests are requested and whether they give patient’s advice on how to collect stool samples was also gathered.
Results 89% of GPs reported to requesting stool tests. The most common reason was history of foreign travel, followed by prolonged duration of symptoms (longer than 1 week) then history of blood in stools. The most common test requested was MC and S followed by OCP with only 3% reporting requesting tests for C. difficile and H. pylori. Only 21% of GPs reported to using guidelines/online resources. 63% of GP’s reported that they give patients advice on how to collect stool samples.
Conclusions The small survey showed that most GPs do not consult guidelines when requesting stool tests and that the repertoire of tests they request are limited. It indicates that there is a scope for making guidelines more easily accessible, especially in cases where more complex tests are required such as with history of foreign travel.
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