The introduction of advanced paramedics into primary care in Northern Ireland: a qualitative descriptive study of the experiences of general practitioners

Damian Muldoon, Chris Seenan

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Abstract

Background: Primary care is dealing with an ever-increasing workload. The causes are multi-factorial but include a decreasing number of General Practitioners (GPs), combined with increased numbers of patients with multiple co-morbidities and an ageing population. As a result of these pressures, nursing and allied health professionals are now working within a growing number of advanced practice roles delivering community-based care. One such example is paramedics taking up advanced roles within General Practice settings in Northern Ireland. What is not known, however, is what GPs’ experiences are of these developments.

Aims: To examine the experiences of GPs who have introduced an advanced paramedic into their primary care team in Northern Ireland.

Design: A qualitative descriptive design was chosen as the most suitable approach to allow participants to relay their experiences in their own words within the loose confines of a semi-structured interview.

Methods: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a group of four purposively selected GPs who had direct experience of the phenomena of interest. These interviews were transcribed verbatim, anonymised and then analysed thematically.

Results: The thematic analysis produced three superordinate themes of alleviating pressureacceptance and psychological well-being. These were underpinned by seven ordinate themes that were supported using verbatim quotes. These were then discussed and contextualised with themes from existing literature.

Conclusion: Generally, there was widespread support from the GPs for the introduction of advanced paramedics into primary care teams. The reasons were multi-factorial but the reduction in GP workload featured prominently. The participants reported benefits in terms of increased resilience and work‐life balance. The capacity to provide a clinician with experience of dealing with acute and emergency presentations, in combination with managing routine procedures, was also reported to be of great importance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-6
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Paramedic Journal
Volume6
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

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