Self-management support activities in primary care: a qualitative study to compare provision across common health problems

Emma Harris, Caroline Barker, Kim Burton, Mike Lucock, Felicity Astin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


To explore the views of primary care teams about the provision of self-management support to patients with common health problems.

Semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty-one members of the primary care team from thirteen general practices. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, and analysed using the ‘Framework’ approach.

Three categories and six sub-categories illustrating different self-management support activities across common health problems were identified from the analysis of interviews, and contributed to one major theme and one cross-cutting theme. Referral and signposting were frequently used to facilitate patient engagement with external services and resources. Practitioners faced some challenges in balancing medical management and psychosocial support and motivating patients to engage with self-management.

Primary care teams described providing a wide range of self-management support activities, but the pattern of use varied for different types of health problem. These patterns may have been influenced, in part, by general practices focusing upon achieving financially incentivised quality improvement goals.

Practice implications
To improve self-management support, practitioners need a digital repository of services/resources, motivational interviewing skills, an understanding of the optimum duration and pattern of consultations, and incentivised targets that match a biopsychosocial model of care.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2532-2539
Number of pages8
JournalPatient Education and Counseling
Issue number12
Early online date7 Jul 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2020


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