Research Article

The views of singlehanded general practitioners: a qualitative study.

BMJ 1993; 307 doi: (Published 04 September 1993) Cite this as: BMJ 1993;307:607
  1. J M Green
  1. Department of General Practice, United Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London.


    OBJECTIVES--To examine the concerns of singlehanded general practitioners working in an inner London area and to compare the views of general practitioners in partnerships. DESIGN--Qualitative analysis of semistructured interviews with a random sample of singlehanded general practitioners and a sample of general practitioners from partnerships matched for age and sex. SETTING--The area covered by Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham Family Health Services Authority. RESULTS--The singlehanded general practitioners were more likely to be older, male, and first qualified abroad than general practitioners in partnerships. Their major concerns were inadequate premises, maintaining their singlehanded status, and coping with recent changes to their contract. Most were very satisfied with their solo status and did not see the provision of 24 hour care as stressful. CONCLUSION--Singlehanded general practitioners saw themselves as providing a unique service for patients, and their status as an alternative for general practitioners who were unhappy in partnerships. Such practices are unlikely to wither away as a pattern of provision. Any comprehensive development of primary care must take their needs into account.