Impact of Australian general practice alcohol and other drugs education: a qualitative evaluation

Bryce Brickley, Lizette Fox-Miller, Paul Grinzi, Leigh Williams, Emily Lindsay, Shani Macaulay, Simon Slota-Kan

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Background: Many GPs are challenged to deliver safe and effective care for patients who use alcohol and other drugs (AOD). The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) developed the AOD GP Education Programme to support Australian GPs and optimise AOD care in the community. How the programme impacted GP participants is not yet fully understood.

Aim: To explore the views and experiences of GP participants who completed the AOD GP Education Programme, and AOD experts who were involved in the programme as a presenter or mentor.

Design & setting: Situated in the constructivist paradigm, this qualitive descriptive study engaged GPs across Australia.

Method: This study employed semi-structured, online, focus groups interviews. Data were analysed thematically.

Results: Five focus groups were held with a total of 35 GP participants. Five themes developed, which illustrated that the study participants viewed the programme design as comprehensive and flexible. It has also been shown that participants' individual learning needs were addressed. Impacts of the programme on clinical practice included the following: confidence to care for patients who use AOD; confidence to collaborate with colleagues in delivery of AOD care; confidence to develop AOD professional networks in their community setting; and confidence to manage complex AOD presentations.

Conclusion: Participants described the AOD programme as a high quality and positive educational experience. The prioritisation of core treatment skills (whole-person care and structured approaches to behavioural change) was a feature of the professional development programme. The AOD programme design is a practical model to implement for future AOD GP education and continuing professional development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalBJGP Open
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • education medical
  • general practitioners
  • physicians general practice
  • physicians family
  • general practice
  • qualitative research


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