Author(s): Jones KM, Dixon ME, Falkingham L, Piteman L, Dixon JB
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Abstract Recruiting general practitioners to take part in research in primary care is important and challenging. This paper describes the process, barriers and achievements experienced by a research team whilst recruiting Divisions and general practitioners (GPs)/practices into a project related to management of obesity in children, which used Breakthrough Series methodology in the intervention arm. The research team chose to recruit GPs through Divisions of General Practice, because of the existing positive relationship between the research team and the Divisions, and the Divisions' positive relationships with the GPs/practices in their area. The project aimed to recruit four Divisions of General Practice, who in turn would recruit a total of 24 GPs/practices. Four Divisions (two rural, two metropolitan) were recruited initially, but the two rural Divisions withdrew before the project commenced and were replaced by two metropolitan Divisions. As Divisions were unable to recruit sufficient GPs/practices, two additional strategies were used, but despite all efforts, only 17 practices were recruited. Reflection on recruitment failure focussed on reasons from the perspective of Divisions, GPs, other projects using the Breakthrough Series methodology with a chronic disease focus and other projects conducted in Australia where the focus was childhood obesity. The results showed that even Divisions who were enthusiastic about joining a project may be unable to recruit sufficient GPs and practices, for reasons including staff changeover and GP reluctance. Caution is suggested when setting recruitment targets where the condition is sensitive, is not the presenting problem, is not routinely tackled in general practice, involves minors, where treatment is perceived to be of doubtful effectiveness, or where major government policies may need to be considered.
This article was published in Aust J Prim Health
and referenced in Family Medicine & Medical Science Research