BACKGROUND: Schizophrenia affects up to 1% of the population in the UK. People with schizophrenia use the National Health Service frequently and over a long period of time. However, their views on satisfaction with primary care are rarely sought. OBJECTIVES: This study aimed to explore the elements of satisfaction with primary care for people with schizophrenia. METHOD: A primary care-based study was carried out using semi-structured interviews with 45 patients with schizophrenia receiving shared care with the Northern Birmingham Mental Health Trust between 1999 and 2000. RESULTS: Five major themes that affect satisfaction emerged from the data: the exceptional potential of the consultation itself; the importance of aspects of the organization of primary care; the construction of the user in the doctor-patient relationship; the influence of stereotypes on GP behaviour; and the importance of hope for recovery. CONCLUSION: Satisfaction with primary care is multiply mediated. It is also rarely expected or achieved by this group of patients. There is a significant gap between the rhetoric and the reality of user involvement in primary care consultations. Acknowledging the tensions between societal and GP views of schizophrenia as an incurable life sentence and the importance to patients of hope for recovery is likely to lead to greater satisfaction with primary health care for people with schizophrenia.
- primary care