Evaluation of general practice house officer attachments in Counties Manukau: insights and benefits
Journal of Primary Health Care
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
... s 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.