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Prevalence and associations of prescribing of long-acting reversible contraception by general practitioner registrars: a secondary analysis of ReCEnT data


Objective Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) is the most effective form of contraception but use in Australia is low. Uptake of LARC prescribing by early-career general practitioners (GPs) has important implications for community reproductive health. We aimed to investigate the prevalence and associations of Australian GP registrars’ LARC prescribing.

Methods A cross-sectional analysis of the Registrar Clinical Encounters in Training (ReCEnT) cohort study 2010–2017. GP registrars collected data on 60 consecutive consultations on three occasions during their training. The outcome factor was prescription of LARC (compared with non-LARC). A secondary analysis was performed with problems involving prescription of LARC (compared with other problems). Associations with patient, practice, registrar and consultation independent variables were assessed by univariate and multivariable logistic regression.

Results 1737 registrars recorded 5382 problems/diagnoses involving women aged 12–55 years in which contraception was prescribed. 1356 (25%) involved LARC. Significant multivariable associations of prescribing LARC included patient age (OR 2.85, 95% CI 3.17 to 3.74, for age 36–45 years compared with age 12–18 years), practice rurality - inner-regional (OR 1.47, 95% CI 1.22 to 1.79) and outer-regional/remote/very remote (OR 1.47 95% CI 1.15 to 1.87) compared with major cities, practices in areas of lower socioeconomic status (SES) (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.91 to 0.96 for SES by decile), generating learning goals (OR 1.37, 95% CI 1.04 to 1.79), in-consultation assistance-seeking (OR 1.58, 95% CI 1.24 to 2.01), and the registrar having reproductive health-related postgraduate qualifications (OR 1.33, 95% CI 1.01 to 1.76).

Conclusions The prevalence of LARC prescribing by Australian GP registrars is higher than has been previously estimated in established GPs. Postgraduate qualifications in reproductive health are associated with prescribing LARC. Prescribing practice differs according to rurality and relative socioeconomic disadvantage.

  • education and training
  • implants
  • intrauterine devices
  • intrauterine systems
  • long-acting reversible contraception
  • general practice

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