General practitioners (GPs) are qualified and trained to administer therapeutic musculoskeletal injections when indicated. However, it is unknown to what extend Dutch GPs feel competent to administer these injections in clinical practice. Reluctance among GPs to inject might lead to unnecessary and costly referral to secondary care. An online and offline questionnaire was spread among Dutch GPs, querying demographics, GPs’ self-assessment of injection competence, the number of administered/referred injections and management strategy for musculoskeletal injections. A total of 355 GPs responded. In total, 81% of the GPs considered themselves competent in administering musculoskeletal injections. Self-assessed incompetent GPs performed less injections the last month than self-assessed competent GPs (1.2 ± 1.4 vs 4.8 ± 4.6 injections, P < 0.001). Additionally, they referred four times more often to a colleague GP (0.4 ± 1.0 vs 0.1 ± 0.6 injections per month, P < 0.001) and twice as often to secondary care (1.0 ± 1.3 vs 0.5 ± 0.9 injections per month, P = 0.001). Self-assessed incompetence was associated with female sex (OR [95% CI] = 4.94 [2.39, 10.21]) and part-time work (OR [95% CI] = 2.58 [1.43, 4.66]). The most frequently addressed barriers were a lack of confidence in injection skills, lack of practical training, and uncertainty about the effectiveness and diagnosis of musculoskeletal injections. Although most GPs considered themselves competent to administer musculoskeletal injections, the referral rate to secondary care for several injections was strikingly high. To decrease secondary care referrals, addressing some of the most frequently indicated barriers is highly recommended.

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Journal of Clinical Medicine
Department of Orthopaedics

Spruit, E., Mol, M.F, Bos, P.K, Bierma-Zeinstra, S.M, Krastman, P, & Runhaar, J. (2020). Self-Assessment of Competence and Referral Behavior for Musculoskeletal Injections among Dutch General Practitioners. Journal of Clinical Medicine, 9(6). doi:10.3390/jcm9061880