Surveys count as research too – and the results of a survey of GPs in Oxfordshire can now be read in full . It was undertaken by Oxfordshire ME Group for Action (OMEGA), which had helped to develop and agree a new Patient Pathway in 2010 and wanted to test (among other things) awareness of this pathway among GPs in the county.
Some intriguing results jump out – for instance, 93% of GP respondents recognised CFS/ME as a clinical entity, 37% knew someone socially with the illness, while only 43% were aware of the “Oxfordshire Patient Pathway”. The sad thing, however, was that only 60 GPs (11% of the 543 registered in Oxfordshire) returned the questionnaire which was designed to take less than 5 minutes to complete. This was a much lower response rate that the 77% of Gloucester GPs who responded to a similar survey in 2002 with interesting findings.
As the survey authors’ point out, “The response rate…is likely to have been affected by our inability to pay GPs to participate in research. It is of wider relevance and concern that this type of (non-commercially sponsored) research into health services in Oxfordshire is now much more difficult than 10 years ago.”