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Open Access Research article

A cross-sectional study describing factors associated with utilisation of GP services by a cohort of people who inject drugs

Dhanya Nambiar12*, Mark Stoové1 and Paul Dietze12

Author Affiliations

1 Centre for Population Health, Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Rd, 3004 Melbourne, VIC, Australia

2 Department of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine, Monash University, GPO Box 2284, 3001 Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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BMC Health Services Research 2014, 14:308  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-308

Published: 16 July 2014

Abstract

Background

People who inject drugs (PWID) use healthcare services, including primary care, at a disproportionately high rate. We investigated key correlates of general practitioner (GP) related service utilisation within a cohort of PWID.

Methods

Using baseline data from a cohort of 645 community-recruited PWID based in Melbourne, Victoria, we conducted a secondary analysis of associations between past month use of GP services unrelated to opioid substitution therapy (OST) and socio-demographic and drug use characteristics and self-reported health using multivariate logistic regression.

Results

Just under one-third (29%) of PWID had accessed GP services in the month prior to being surveyed. Participants who reported living with children (adjusted odds ratio, AOR 1.97, 95% CI 1.04 - 3.73) or having had contact with a social worker in the past month (AOR 1.92, 95% CI 1.24 - 2.98) were more likely to have seen a GP in the past month. Participants who were injecting daily or more frequently (AOR 0.50, 95% CI 0.30 - 0.83) or had a weekly income of less than $400 (AOR 0.59, 95% CI 0.38 - 0.91) were less likely to report having seen a GP in the past month.

Conclusions

Our sample frequently attended GP services for health needs unrelated to OST. Findings highlight both the characteristics of PWID accessing GP services and also those potentially missing out on primary care and preventive services.

Keywords:
Injecting; General practice; Healthcare; Utilisation; Primary care