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Patient needs from general practice following a traumatic injury: a qualitative study using narrative interviews with British service personnel
  1. Thomas R Bailey
  1. Correspondence to Sqn Ldr Tom Bailey, SMC, RAF Shawbury, Shrewsbury, Shropshire SY4 4DZ, UK; mda00trb{at}


Objectives To explore the first period of sick leave in military patients following a traumatic battle injury, and the role of primary care. To identify if and where patients perceived difficulties.

Method Participants were recruited from The Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court on their second admission. Purposive sampling was used to access a range of different injuries and experiences. Nine patients were interviewed at DMRC where they were asked to recount their stories throughout rehabilitation. Thematic and structural analysis of the narrative accounts was applied.

Results The majority of problems encountered by the participants occurred during their initial period of sick leave between Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM), Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, and DMRC. Participants often had difficulty identifying who to contact if they had a problem on sick leave, with many ringing secondary care directly. Time spent travelling to medical reviews was identified as affecting the quality of leave.

Conclusions There is a need for greater patient understanding regarding whom to contact should they develop problems while on sick leave. A patient passport containing all discharge documentation and simplified contact details may help reduce patient confusion regarding whom to contact. GPs require greater awareness and understanding of the complexity of these patients’ injuries and the need for early secondary care review to prevent delayed or inappropriate admissions. Most problems that patients face will occur on their first period of sick leave. Reducing the time spent on sick leave before admission to DMRC would limit the likelihood of problems occurring at this high-risk time.

  • Qualitative Research
  • Primary Care

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