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Study highlights key role of primary care in women's health


A study by Oxford researchers has outlined the valuable role the primary care system can play in supporting women's health needs.

The research was carried out against the backdrop of the consultation for, and publication of, the 2022 Women's Health Strategy for England.

The researchers from Oxford University Hospitals (OUH) NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences interviewed primary care practitioners about their experiences of supporting women's healthcare needs.

The study, which was funded by the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme, was published in the British Journal of General Practice.

Dr Francine Toye of OUH was one of the authors of the paper. She said: "Our aim was to get an understanding from primary care practitioners of what works well to provide quality care. They are committed to providing equitable care despite social, economic and systems challenges."

From the study, six principal themes emerged:

  • being alongside a person from cradle to grave
  • maintaining the balance between general and specialist skills
  • generalists and specialists combined make more than the sum of their parts
  • striving for equity in a collapsing system
  • firefighting with limited resources
  • the GP is being cast as the villain. 

The authors concluded: "Relationships and advocacy are at the core of general practice and women's health, and this study highlights threats to these core values and skills.

"We need to make sure that relationship-based longitudinal knowledge of individuals, families and communities is not devalued and remains at the core of equitable primary care, and, when services evolve, we must ensure that it does not contribute to de-skilling of primary care practitioners."

Read the paper at the link below:

Understanding primary care perspectives on supporting women's health needs: a qualitative study