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Social problems, primary care and pathways to help and support at the individual level. Part II lay perspectives help and support: addressing health inequalities.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>11/2007
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health
Issue number11
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)972-977
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


Objectives: This study aimed to describe social problems presented to general practitioners (GPs) in UK inner cities and GPs’ responses; describe patients help-seeking pathways; and consider how these pathways can be improved. Methods: The study involved a pilot survey and follow-up qualitative interviews with patients in two inner city areas in London and Salford in 2001–2. The pilot survey involved five practices in each locality. GPs completed questionnaires on 57 people presenting with social problems. A diversity sample of 12 patients was followed up for interview. Results: Study results are presented in two parts. Here (Part II) qualitative research results are reported highlighting four themes: the complex and enduring nature of social problems; the persistence people display seeking help; the fragmented and problematic pathways available; and the roles GPs play as: primary medical adviser; formal gateway to another service; advocates or facilitators to another service; and sources of support and advice during a process of recovery. Commonly, GPs occupied more than one role. Conclusions: GPs do help people deal with social problems, but their responses are limited. More integrated pathways to help and advice for social problems are needed. Existing pathways could be more visible and accessible, and new pathways developed through commissioning and extending social prescribing. More partnerships across sectors may create more co-ordinated provision, but these are notoriously difficult, and other trends such as the focus on lifestyle issues and long-standing conditions may make it more difficult for people with social needs to access support. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Abbreviations: GP, general practitioner; LAA, Local Area Agreement; RSI, repetitive strain injury

Bibliographic note

This is one of a series of papers arising from a major Department of Health programme of work on public health and primary care. Popay was the principal applicant on this programme. RAE_import_type : Journal article RAE_uoa_type : Social Work and Social Policy & Administration