Journal of Primary Health Care Journal of Primary Health Care Society
Journal of The Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners
RESEARCH ARTICLE (Open Access)

Evaluation of general practice house officer attachments in Counties Manukau: insights and benefits

Lyndsay Le Comte 1 , Brooke Hayward 1 , David Hughes 1 , Luis Villa 1 , Dominic Madell 1
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

1 Ko Awatea, Counties Manukau Health, New Zealand

Correspondence to: Brooke Hayward, Ko Awatea Research Office, Level 1 Esmé Green Building, Middlemore Hospital, 100 Hospital Road, Otahuhu, Private Bag 93311, Auckland 1640, New Zealand. Email: Brooke.Hayward@middlemore.co.nz

Journal of Primary Health Care 8(4) 288-294 https://doi.org/10.1071/HC16001
Published: 21 December 2016

Journal Compilation © Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners 2016.
This is an open access article licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The Medical Council of New Zealand requires graduating doctors to have community attachments within their first two years of practice by 2020. Counties Manukau Health has developed a programme where house officers (HOs) are attached to a general practice for three months.

AIM: This study aimed to establish the value of four HO general practice attachments in Counties Manukau and describe how HOs are being used in these practices.

METHODS: A mixed-methods design was used to evaluate three attachment runs. Two practices provided the number of patients seen by HOs. Fifty-eight patients were surveyed to assess patient perceptions of the HOs. Six HOs, four supervising general practitioners, two PHO senior staff and one practice manager participated in semi-structured interviews. Focus groups were held with nurses, doctors and administrative staff at all four practices.

FINDINGS: HOs saw 300–600 patients in one practice and 800–1000 in the other during their attachment. Practices developed their own approach to mentoring and teaching HOs. Most patients reported positive perceptions of the HOs. Themes from interviews and focus groups were consistent among participants and included: improved HO confidence, clinical skills and understanding of general practice; extra capacity and improved quality of care and staff satisfaction among practices.

CONCLUSION: HOs and practices viewed HO attachments in general practice positively. HOs developed clinical skills and understanding of primary health care. Practice teams enjoyed the energy and enthusiasm of the HOs, while providing clinical support to ensure quality patient care.

KEYWORDS: Physicians; primary care; hospital; general practice; evaluation research; teaching


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