Training interventions for general practitioners providing an occupational health service in the British Army

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BackgroundGeneral practitioners (GPs) working in the British Army, whether civilian or military, are responsible for providing a first line occupational health (OH) service in addition to their primary health care role. Despite the medical classification system being well established, previous publications have shown considerable inconsistency in the knowledge among GPs.AimThe aim of this audit cycle was to test effectiveness of training interventions designed for GPs, providing the first line OH service.MethodThe audit cycle was divided into three stages. The Stages I and III were audits examining the standard of OH records initiated by GPs during a 4-month period (pre- and post-training). The Stage II was a training intervention. Statistical significance was assessed with the chi-square test.ResultsThe stage one audit showed a statistically significant standard difference between the medical boards initiated by civilian and military GPs. This gap was bridged and the overall standard of the OH records improved significantly after the training.ConclusionsAppropriate training can enhance a first line OH service provided by GPs. The training must be reinforced at regular intervals. Both OH specialists and GPs can complement each other so as to identify, intervene and prevent work-related ill-health.

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