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Short Communication

Management of minor medical problems and trauma: the role of general practice

Submitted: 22 May 2008
Revised: 15 December 2008
Published: 19 October 2009

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Author(s) : Marinos G, Vasileiou I, Katsargyris A, Klonaris CP, Korombelis P, Michail O, Valatsou A, Griniatsos J, Vlasis K, Siasos G, Souliotis K, Konstantopoulos K.

George MarinosIoanna Vasileiou Athanasios KatsargyrisChris Klonaris Othon MichailJohn GriniatsosKostas Vlasis

Citation: Marinos G, Vasileiou I, Katsargyris A, Klonaris CP, Korombelis P, Michail O, Valatsou A, Griniatsos J, Vlasis K, Siasos G, Souliotis K, Konstantopoulos K.  Management of minor medical problems and trauma: the role of general practice. Rural and Remote Health 9: 1019. (Online) 2009. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  It has been established that patients prefer receiving health information from primary care physicians. In Greece, recent reforms supporting urban primary healthcare have not been enacted, and long waiting times in Athens’ emergency departments are common. Aim: To evaluate cases treated in the emergency department of a Greek general hospital and explore the potential role of primary care in managing these cases.
Methods:  A total of 53 926 patients visited the emergency department studied during on-call days from February 2005 to February 2006. The cases were classified into 6 groups according to their main complaint: (1) internal medicine; (2) surgical; (3) orthopedic; (4) otorhinolaryngology (ENT); (5) eye disorders (ophthalmology); and (6) gynecology–obstetric.
Results:  Of the 53 926 patients studied, 9167 (17%) came from a rural area. The internal medicine department was most commonly attended (15 373; 28.5%), followed by orthopedics (16.9%). In the surgical, ENT, ophthalmology and gynecology groups, almost one in three patients could have been managed by a GP, as could 40% of orthopedic cases. Orthopedic and ENT patients had the highest rate of X-rays performed.
Conclusion:  Many emergency patients visiting hospitals can be managed at the primary care level. The development of a ‘practice-based curriculum’ for GPs would be an excellent method to obtain higher professional standards.

Key words:  general practice, healthcare system, minor medical problems, primary care.

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