Recording occupation in general practice—a second cycle audit

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An audit of working age patients’ records in two Cornish general practices in 2012 found infrequent and inconsistent recording of patients’ occupations. A concurrent survey of general practitioners (GPs) in Cornwall found that a majority of them believed it was important to do so.


To review occupation recording in the same practices a year later and to audit a third practice, following the introduction of the electronic fit note. To repeat the survey of attitudes to recording occupation in GPs in Cornwall.


We manually checked 300 randomly selected patient records in Practice A and electronically searched all records of working age patients (aged 16–65 years) in Practices B and C for recorded occupation. We sent an electronic survey of attitudes to recording occupation to 202 GPs in Cornwall.


Recording of occupation increased from 17 to 30% of records (χ2 = 15, P < 0.001) in Practice A and from 12 to 14% (χ2 = 16.5, P < 0.001) in Practice B. In Practice C, 1% of records had occupation recorded and coded. The proportion of GPs in Cornwall who said that it is important to records patients’ occupation increased from 70 to 90% (Fisher’s exact statistic 0.01, P < 0.05).


Recording of patients’ occupation increased in both practices from 2012 to 2013, but remains infrequent and inconsistent and the very low levels in a third practice not previously audited is of concern.

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