General practitioner experiences during infectious disease public health crises

Added April 14, 2020

Citation: Kunin M, Engelhard D, Piterman L, Thomas S. Response of general practitioners to infectious disease public health crises: an integrative systematic review of the literature. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness 2013; 7(5): 522-33

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic poses a significant threat to public health. Information on the experiences of general practitioners (GPs) during such infectious disease public health crises may help improve preparedness.

In this integrative systematic review, the authors searched for research into the experiences of GPs working during epidemics or pandemics of infectious respiratory diseases. They restricted their search to articles published in English and did their most recent search in January 2013. They included 6 quantitative surveys, 2 qualitative studies and 2 mixed method studies. Four studies followed the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore) and six studies followed the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic (Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Hungary, USA and UK).

What was found:  GPs from different countries experienced similar challenges, suggesting that these findings from the SARS outbreak and the 2009 H1N1 pandemic are transferable.

Challenges identified by GPs during the SARS outbreak, the 2009 H1N1 pandemic or both included difficulties with the following: access to information and guidelines; supply, cost and use of personal protective equipment (PPE); obtaining support and communication from public health authorities; training; and the emotional effects of participating in the response to an infectious disease with unknown characteristics and lethality.

What’s uncertain: The relatively small amount of research into the experiences of GPs working during epidemics or pandemics of infectious respiratory diseases means that it is uncertain if other important factors have not yet been identified.



Disclaimer: This summary has been written by staff and volunteers of Evidence Aid in order to make the content of the original document accessible to decision makers who are searching for the available evidence on the coronavirus (COVID-19) but may not have the time, initially, to read the original report in full. This summary is not intended as a substitute for the medical advice of physicians, other health workers, professional associations, guideline developers, or national governments and international agencies. If readers of this summary think that the evidence that is presented within it is relevant to their decision-making they should refer to the content and details of the original article, and the advice and guidelines offered by other sources of expertise, before making decisions. Evidence Aid cannot be held responsible for any decisions made about the coronavirus (COVID-19) on the basis of this summary alone.