BMA — ‘Responsible, safe and sustainable’ general practice

A new vision for a ‘sustainable, modern and flexible’ general practice is published by the BMA this week.

The vision, ‘Responsible, safe and sustainable: towards a new future for general practice’, is based on a series of key recommendations drawn from consultations with both doctors and patients.

BMA GPs committee chair Chaand Nagpaul said that the vision sought to address chronic issues facing the sector such as recruitment and retention, infrastructure and investment, and rising patient demand.

He added that the growing number of GP trainee vacancies meant that the UK risked losing out on an entire generation of new doctors put off from pursuing a career in general practice.

He said: ‘General practice is at a crossroads after a decade of rising patient demand and falling resources.

‘The BMA’s largest ever survey of GPs earlier this year found that one in three were considering retiring in the next five years as almost all reported that they were struggling to manage patient demand.

‘Last month, there were more than 600 vacancies for GP trainee places across England, showing that a generation of new medical graduates are turning their backs on a career as a GP.

‘We have a general practice that, despite the best efforts of GPs, does not have the infrastructure, coordination, staff or funding to deliver effective services to patients.’

Based on a survey of 15,560 GPs, the results of which were published in April this year, the BMA’s vision for general practice includes a number of recommendations, including:

  • Improving recruitment and retention by implementing manageable GP workloads
  • A new national campaign to promote patient self-care to reduce the existing burden on GP service
  • Improving technological efficiency, information sharing and collaboration between general practice and the wider NHS
  • Reforming the GP curriculum and career path in order to entice greater numbers of medical graduates into general practice.

Read the full article via BMA — ‘Responsible, safe and sustainable’ general practice | british medical association.


Childhood long-term conditions in primary care: a qualitative study of practitioners’ views

Background Improving child health and wellbeing in England was the key focus of the Chief Medical Officer’s Annual Report 2012, which recommended that all children with long-term conditions (LTCs) have a named GP responsible for their care. Little is known, however, about practitioners’ views and experiences of supporting children with LTCs in primary care.

Aim To explore practitioners’ views of supporting children with LTCs and their families in primary care.

Design and setting Qualitative interview study in primary care settings in South Yorkshire, England.

Method Interviews explored practitioners’ views and experiences of supporting children with asthma, cystic fibrosis, type 1 diabetes, and epilepsy. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed verbatim, and analysed using the framework approach.

Results Nineteen practitioners were interviewed: 10 GPs, five practice nurses, and four nurse practitioners. The GPs’ clinical roles included prescribing and concurrent illness management; nurse practitioners held minor illness clinics; and practice nurses conduct asthma clinics and administer immunisations. GPs were coordinators of care and provided a holistic service to the family. GPs were often unsure of their role with children with LTCs, and did not feel they had overall responsibility for these patients. Confidence was dependent on experience; however, knowledge of GPs’ own limits and accessing help were felt to be more important than knowledge of the condition.

Conclusion Primary care has a valuable role in the care of children with LTCs and their families. This study suggests that improving communication between services would clarify roles and help improve the confidence of primary care practitioners.

Childhood long-term conditions in primary care: a qualitative study of practitioners’ views by , et al.  British Journal of General Practice, published 1st September 2015.

Bariatric–metabolic surgery versus conventional medical treatment in obese patients with type 2 diabetes: 5 year follow-up of an open-label, single-centre, randomised controlled trial

Background Randomised controlled trials have shown that bariatric surgery is more effective than conventional treatment for the short-term control of type-2 diabetes. However, published studies are characterised by a relatively short follow-up. We aimed to assess 5 year outcomes from our randomised trial designed to compare surgery with conventional medical treatment for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in obese patients.

Methods We did our open-label, randomised controlled trial at one diabetes centre in Italy. Patients aged 30–60 years with a body-mass index of 35 kg/m2 or more and a history of type 2 diabetes lasting at least 5 years were randomly assigned (1:1:1), via a computergenerated randomisation procedure, to receive either medical treatment or surgery by Roux-en-Y gastric bypass or biliopancreatic diversion. Participants were aware of treatment allocation before the operation and study investigators were aware from the point of randomisation. The primary endpoint was the rate of diabetes remission at 2 years, defined as a glycated haemaglobin A1c (HbA1c) concentration of 6·5% or less (≤47·5 mmol/mol) and a fasting glucose concentration of 5·6 mmol/L or less without active pharmacological treatment for 1 year. Here we analyse glycaemic and metabolic control, cardiovascular risk, medication use, quality of life, and long-term complications 5 years after randomisation. Analysis was by intention to treat for the primary endpoint and by per protocol for the 5 year follow-up. This study is registered with, number NCT00888836.

Findings Between April 27, 2009, and Oct 31, 2009, we randomly assigned 60 patients to receive either medical treatment (n=20) or surgery by gastric bypass (n=20) or biliopancreatic diversion (n=20); 53 (88%) patients completed 5 years’ follow-up. Overall, 19 (50%) of the 38 surgical patients (seven [37%] of 19 in the gastric bypass group and 12 [63%] of 19 in the bilipancreatic diversion group) maintained diabetes remission at 5 years, compared with none of the 15 medically treated patients (p=0·0007). We recorded relapse of hyperglycaemia in eight (53%) of the 15 patients who achieved 2 year remission in the gastric bypass group and seven (37%) of the 19 patients who achieved 2 year remission in the biliopancreatic diversion group. Eight (42%) patients who underwent gastric bypass and 13 (68%) patients who underwent biliopancreatic diversion had an HbA1c concentration of 6·5% or less (≤47·5 mmol/mol) with or without medication, compared with four (27%) medically treated patients (p=0·0457). Surgical patients lost more weight than medically treated patients, but weight changes did not predict diabetes remission or relapse after surgery. Both surgical procedures were associated with significantly lower plasma lipids, cardiovascular risk, and medication use. Five major complications of diabetes (including one fatal myocardial infarction) arose in four (27%) patients in the medical group compared with only one complication in the gastric bypass group and no complications in the biliopancreatic diversion group. No late complications or deaths occurred in the surgery groups. Nutritional side-effects were noted mainly after biliopancreatic diversion.

Interpretation Surgery is more effective than medical treatment for the long-term control of obese patients with type 2 diabetes and should be considered in the treatment algorithm of this disease. However, continued monitoring of glycaemic control is warranted because of potential relapse of hyperglycaemia.

Bariatric–metabolic surgery versus conventional medical treatment in obese patients with type 2 diabetes: 5 year follow-up of an open-label, single-centre, randomised controlled trial by Geltrude Mingrone, et al. The Lancet, Volume 386, No. 9997, p964–973, 5 September 2015

Assessment of the CHA2DS2-VASc Score in Predicting Ischemic Stroke, Thromboembolism, and Death in Patients With Heart Failure With and Without Atrial Fibrillation

Importance The CHA2DS2-VASc score (congestive heart failure, hypertension, age ≥75 years [doubled], diabetes, stroke/transient ischemic attack/thromboembolism [doubled], vascular disease [prior myocardial infarction, peripheral artery disease, or aortic plaque], age 65-75 years, sex category [female]) is used clinically for stroke risk stratification in atrial fibrillation (AF). Its usefulness in a population of patients with heart failure (HF) is unclear.

Objective To investigate whether CHA2DS2-VASc predicts ischemic stroke, thromboembolism, and death in a cohort of patients with HF with and without AF.

Design, Setting, and Population Nationwide prospective cohort study using Danish registries, including 42,987 patients (21.9% with concomitant AF) not receiving anticoagulation who were diagnosed as having incident HF during 2000-2012. End of follow-up was December 31, 2012. Exposures Levels of the CHA2DS2-VASc score (based on 10 possible points, with higher scores indicating higher risk), stratified by concomitant AF at baseline. Analyses took into account the competing risk of death.

Main Outcomes and Measures Ischemic stroke, thromboembolism, and death within 1 year after HF diagnosis.

Results In patients without AF, the risks of ischemic stroke, thromboembolism, and death were 3.1% (n=977), 9.9% (n=3187), and 21.8% (n=6956), respectively; risks were greater with increasing CHA2DS2-VASc scores as follows, for scores of 1 through 6, respectively: (1) ischemic stroke with concomitant AF: 4.5%, 3.7%, 3.2%, 4.3%, 5.6%, and 8.4%; without concomitant AF: 1.5%, 1.5%, 2.0%, 3.0%, 3.7%, and 7% and (2) all-cause death with concomitant AF: 19.8%, 19.5%, 26.1%, 35.1%, 37.7%, and 45.5%; without concomitant AF: 7.6%, 8.3%, 17.8%, 25.6%, 27.9%, and 35.0%. At high CHA2DS2-VASc scores (≥4), the absolute risk of thromboembolism was high regardless of presence of AF (for a score of 4, 9.7% vs 8.2% for patients without and with concomitant AF, respectively; overall P<.001 for interaction). C statistics and negative predictive values indicate that the CHA2DS2-VASc score performed modestly in this HF population with and without AF (for ischemic stroke, 1-year C statistics, 0.67 [95% CI, 0.65-0.68] and 0.64 [95% CI, 0.61-0.67], respectively; 1-year negative predictive values, 92% [95% CI, 91%-93%] and 91% [95% CI, 88%-95%], respectively).

Conclusions and Relevance Among patients with incident HF with or without AF, the CHA2DS2-VASc score was associated with risk of ischemic stroke, thromboembolism, and death. The absolute risk of thromboembolic complications was higher among patients without AF compared with patients with concomitant AF at high CHA2DS2-VASc scores. However, predictive accuracy was modest, and the clinical utility of the CHA2DS2-VASc score in patients with HF remains to be determined.

Assessment of the CHA2DS2-VASc Score in Predicting Ischemic Stroke, Thromboembolism, and Death in Patients With Heart Failure With and Without Atrial Fibrillation by Line Melgaard, et al. JAMA. 2015;314(10):1030-1038

Mental illness, challenging behaviour, and psychotropic drug prescribing in people with intellectual disability: UK population based cohort study

Objectives To describe the incidence of recorded mental illness and challenging behaviour in people with intellectual disability in UK primary care and to explore the prescription of psychotropic drugs in this group.

Design Cohort study.

Setting 571 general practices contributing data to The Health Improvement Network clinical database.

Participants 33 016 adults (58% male) with intellectual disability who contributed 211 793 person years’ data.

Main outcome measures Existing and new records of mental illness, challenging behaviour, and psychotropic drug prescription.

Results 21% (7065) of the cohort had a record of mental illness at study entry, 25% (8300) had a record of challenging behaviour, and 49% (16 242) had a record of prescription of psychotropic drugs. During follow-up, the rate of new cases of mental illness in people without a history at cohort entry was 262 (95% confidence interval 254 to 271) per 10 000 person years and the rate of challenging behaviour was 239 (231 to 247) per 10 000 person years. The rate of new psychotropic drug prescription in those without a previous history of psychotropic drug treatment was 518 (503 to 533) per 10 000 person years. Rates of new recording of severe mental illness declined by 5% (95% confidence interval 3% to 7%) per year (P<0.001), and new prescriptions of antipsychotics declined by 4% (3% to 5%) per year P<0.001) between 1999 and 2013. New prescriptions of mood stabilisers also decreased significantly. The rate of new antipsychotic prescribing was significantly higher in people with challenging behaviour (incidence rate ratio 2.08, 95% confidence interval 1.90 to 2.27; P<0.001), autism (1.79, 1.56 to 2.04; P<0.001), and dementia (1.42, 1.12 to 1.81; P<0.003) and in those of older age, after control for other sociodemographic factors and comorbidity.

Conclusions The proportion of people with intellectual disability who have been treated with psychotropic drugs far exceeds the proportion with recorded mental illness. Antipsychotics are often prescribed to people without recorded severe mental illness but who have a record of challenging behaviour. The findings suggest that changes are needed in the prescribing of psychotropics for people with intellectual disability. More evidence is needed of the efficacy and safety of psychotropic drugs in this group, particularly when they are used for challenging behaviour.

Mental illness, challenging behaviour, and psychotropic drug prescribing in people with intellectual disability: UK population based cohort study by Rory Sheehan, et al. BMJ 2015; 351 (Published 01 September 2015)

Prediction of perinatal depression from adolescence and before conception (VIHCS): 20-year prospective cohort study

Background Perinatal depression is a neglected global health priority, affecting 10–15% of women in high-income countries and a greater proportion in low-income countries. Outcomes for children include cognitive, behavioural, and emotional difficulties and, in low-income settings, perinatal depression is associated with stunting and physical illness. In the Victorian Intergenerational Health Cohort Study (VIHCS), we aimed to assess the extent to which women with perinatal depressive symptoms had a history of mental health problems before conception.

Methods VIHCS is a follow-up study of participants in the Victorian Adolescent Health Cohort Study (VAHCS), which was initiated in August, 1992, in the state of Victoria, Australia. In VAHCS, participants were assessed for health outcomes at nine timepoints (waves) from age 14 years to age 29 years. Depressive symptoms were measured with the Revised Clinical Interview Schedule and the General Health Questionnaire. Enrolment to VIHCS began in September, 2006, during the ninth wave of VAHCS; depressive symptoms at this timepoint were measured with the Composite International Diagnostic Interview. We contacted women every 6 months (from age 29 years to age 35 years) to identify any pregnancies. We assessed perinatal depressive symptoms with the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) by computer-assisted telephone interview at 32 weeks of gestation, 8 weeks after birth, and 12 months after birth. We defined perinatal depression as an EPDS score of 10 or more.

Findings From a stratified random sample of 1000 female participants in VAHCS, we enrolled 384 women with 564 pregnancies. 253 (66%) of these women had a previous history of mental health problems at some point in adolescence or young adulthood. 117 women with a history of mental health problems in both adolescence and young adulthood had 168 pregnancies, and perinatal depressive symptoms were reported for 57 (34%) of these pregnancies, compared with 16 (8%) of 201 pregnancies in 131 women with no preconception history of mental health problems (adjusted odds ratio 8·36, 95% CI 3·34–20·87). Perinatal depressive symptoms were reported at one or more assessment points in 109 pregnancies; a preconception history of mental health problems was reported in 93 (85%) of these pregnancies.

Interpretation Perinatal depressive symptoms are mostly preceded by mental health problems that begin before pregnancy, in adolescence or young adulthood. Women with a history of persisting common mental disorders before pregnancy are an identifiable high-risk group, deserving of clinical support throughout the childbearing years. Furthermore, the window for considering preventive intervention for perinatal depression should extend to the time before conception.

Prediction of perinatal depression from adolescence and before conception (VIHCS): 20-year prospective cohort study by George C Patton, et al. The Lancet Volume 386, No. 9996, p875–883, 29 August 2015