Views on sick-listing practice among Swedish General Practitioners: A phenomenographic study
2007 (English)In: BMC Family Practice, ISSN 1471-2296, Vol. 8, 44- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
BACKGROUND: The number of people on sick-leave started to increase in Sweden and several other European countries towards the end of the 20th century. Physicians play an important role in the sickness insurance system by acting as gate-keepers. Our aim was to explore how General Practitioners (GPs) view their sick-listing commission and sick-listing practice. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews with 19 GPs in 17 Primary Health Care settings in four mid-Sweden counties. Interview transcripts were analysed with phenomenographic approach aiming to uncover the variation in existing views regarding the respondents' sick-listing commission and practice. RESULTS: We found large qualitative differences in the GPs' views on sick-listing. The sick-listing commission was experienced to come either from society or from patients, with no responsibility for societal interests, or as an integration of these two views. All the GPs were aware of a possible conflict between the interests of society and patients. While some expressed feelings of strong conflict, others seemed to have solved the conflict, at least partly, between these two loyalties. Some GPs experienced carrying the full responsibility to decide whether a patient would get monetary sick-leave benefits or not and they were not comfortable with this situation. Views on the physician's and the patient's responsibility in sick-listing and rehabilitation varied from a passive to an empowering role of the physician. GPs expressing a combination of less inclusive views of the different aspects of sick-listing experienced strong conflict and appeared to feel distressed in their sick-listing role. Some GPs described how they had changed from less to more inclusive views. CONCLUSION: The clearer understanding of the different views on sick-listing generated in this study can be used in educational efforts to improve physicians' sick-listing practices, benefiting GPs' work situation as well as their patients' well-being. The GP's role as a gatekeeper in the social security system needs further exploration. Our findings could be used to develop a questionnaire to measure the distribution of different views in a wider population of GPs.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2007. Vol. 8, 44- p.
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97289DOI: 10.1186/1471-2296-8-44ISI: 000249593600001PubMedID: 17663793OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97289DiVA: diva2:172157