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Keywords:

  • practice nursing;
  • heart disease;
  • primary care

This paper reports on the views of patients with established heart disease of a structured programme of follow-up care provided by practice nurses (PNs) in general practice in England. It is based on in-depth interviews with 22 patients receiving an integrated primary and secondary care intervention being developed and piloted for patients following heart attack or diagnosis of angina. Patients identified the important features of follow-up care to be easy access to a health professional who possessed knowledge and social and emotional skills. A range of views about the ability of PNs to provide such care emerged from patients' accounts. patients' perceptions about the seriousness of their condition and the way PN follow-up care was provided in practices emerged as important issues affecting patients' views. In addition, perceptions about the practice nurse's role, status and knowledge, existing relationships with general practitioners, and issues of communication were also important factors. It is concluded that in order to develop high-quality PN-led services for patients with established heart disease, four issues need to be taken into account: practice nurse training; continuity of follow-up care; the integration of the primary and secondary care interface; and development of the practice nurse's status within the primary health care team.