How to improve communication from GPs to hospital specialists?

  • Research type

    Research Study

  • Full title

    How to improve communication from GPs to hospital specialists at the point of referrals?



  • Contact name

    Shan He

  • Contact email

  • Sponsor organisation

    School of Clinical Medicine, University of Cambridge

  • Duration of Study in the UK

    1 years, 0 months, 3 days

  • Research summary

    A recent study by the James Lind Alliance Priority-Setting Partnership identified communication issues between primary and secondary care systems as the third most important unanswered research question in improving patient safety. Most research exploring the communication processes across the primary-secondary care interface concentrates on the discharge processes from hospital to community rather than the reverse, i.e., initial GP referrals. Regular teleconferences bringing together GPs working at the Granta Primary Care Network (PCN) and Consultant Neurologist or Psychiatrist from secondary care services in Cambridgeshire (the “Granta Model”) have already been initiated. This study will evaluate the Granta Model as a way of overcoming the communication barriers from GPs to hospital specialists during patient referrals.

    Using a combination of qualitative interviews, focus group discussions, and observation of teleconferences, this qualitative study will explore the impact of these direct means of communication between clinicians across the primary-secondary care interface on the relationship between GPs and hospital specialists, on clinician satisfaction, clinician’s workload, patient journeys; distil the advantages and disadvantages of the Granta model; and identify unintended consequences. There will be a specific focus on factors that facilitate or hinder this model of care.

    We will conduct interviews with clinicians and other stakeholders as well as focus group discussions with Granta staff. This study will be conducted within the five sites of the Granta PCN or remotely via zoom or MS teams or by telephone. We will recruit 20-30 participants in total across the interviews and focus groups.

    We will also observe the interactions between GPs and the Consultant Neurologist or Psychiatrist during their teleconferences. These observations will help put the interview data into their social and clinical context and provide an overview of how the GPs and consultants work together, and what helps or hinders them in their collaboration efforts.

  • REC name

    North East - Tyne & Wear South Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    5 Jun 2023

  • REC opinion

    Further Information Favourable Opinion

Shape the future of the HRA website.