Home > Methadone maintenance in general practice: impact on staff attitudes.

Langton, Deirdre and Hickey, A and Bury, Gerard and Smith, Mary and O'Kelly, F and Barry, Joseph and Sweeney, Brion and Bourke, M (2000) Methadone maintenance in general practice: impact on staff attitudes. Irish Journal of Medical Science, 169, (2), pp. 133-136.

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BACKGROUND: The evaluation of a structured protocol for the discharge of stabilised patients on methadone maintenance to general practice provided an opportunity to evaluate the impact on the attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) and practice staff.

AIM: To assess attitudes, expectations and experience among GPs and practice staff before the introduction of structured methadone maintenance and six months after its introduction.

METHODS: A postal questionnaire was sent to 31 GPs and 23 receptionists in 23 Dublin general practices before the patient's first visit and six months later at the end of the study period. Outcome measures were staff attitudes, incidence of disruption, perceived difficulties in providing care and in prescribing methadone, and stress levels.

RESULTS: There was a generally positive attitude to provision of methadone in general practice for stabilised patients, although it was not anticipated to be problem free. Following six months involvement attitudes were similar; stress levels were unchanged, but fewer GPs anticipated problems in delivering the service. All continued to participate in the scheme.

CONCLUSION: GPs and receptionists in this sample had mixed views about methadone maintenance which were unchanged by six months experience of the service. The study illustrates important issues in the recruitment and support of general practice in meeting this need.

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