Patients’ preferences for GP consultation for perceived cancer risk in primary care: a discrete choice experiment

This UK-wide online survey of adults over 50 years old aimed to investigate patients’ GP consultation preferences when presented with a potential cancer symptom. Additionally, it aimed to describe whether these preferences were mediated by variable levels of cancer risk. Over 600 participants responded, the participants expressed preferences for doctors with better listening skills. They also preferred to see the GP of their choice and wanted shorted waiting times. Interestingly, patients were willing to wan an extra 3.5 weeks for an appointment with a doctor that had good/very good listening skills. The results highlight that the strong patient preference for listening skills is likely to aid the elicitation of cancer related symptoms, which is critical for developing a timely and appropriate management plan. Improving GP listening skills may encourage people to seek more prompt medical help when they experience a cancer symptom.

 

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