Has the Covid-19 pandemic lead to changes in the tasks of the primary care workforce? An international survey among general practices

Esther Van Poel, Peter Groenewegen, Sara Willems, Peter Spreeuwenberg, Ronald Batenburg, Liubove Murauskiene, Christian Mallen, Antoni Peris, Benoit Petré, Emmily Schaubroeck, Stefanie Stark, Emil Lárus Sigurðsson

Keywords: Primary health care; family medicine; division of roles and tasks; multi-country; COVID-19; PRICOV-19

Introduction:
The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on health care in general and primary care in particular. This impact varies by country, providing countries with opportunities to learn from each other. In this paper, we study changes in the tasks of GPs and staff during the times of Covid-19.

Method:
We used data from an international survey among GPs in 38 European countries, the PRICOV-19 Study. We constructed a scale for task changes based on six survey items and performed the multilevel analysis with GPs nested in countries.

Results:
Preliminary results show that the 6-item task changes scale is reliable at GP level – 0.77 – and at country level – 0.95. Clustering task changes at the country level is considerable – Intra Class Correlation=19.1 – so nearly 20% of the variation in the task changes scale is between countries, and 80% is between GP practices. The absence of staff due to Corona or quarantine and improved cooperation with neighboring practices during the pandemic is positively related to task changes.

Conclusions:
We are in the middle of data analysis and refrain from further conclusions now.

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