To investigate how general practitioners and preventive youth health physicians experience their collaboration and to analyse factors involved.
14 general practitioners and 11 preventive youth health physicians from the Leiden and The Hague areas were interviewed in a semistructured manner. Data were analysed by thematic analysis using the ‘Framework method’, to identify important themes for collaboration.
Contact frequency between general practitioners and preventive youth health physicians varied from biannually to weekly. Important conditions for good collaboration were not met by most participants. General practitioners were not always aware of competencies and tasks of preventive youth health physicians and had little trust in them. They also reported less often than preventive youth health physicians that there were mutual agreements or guidelines. Both parties experienced little support from municipalities or their own organisations. For both, exchange of information mainly took place in case of medical necessity or when the other party requested it. Accessibility of the other party was experienced as inconsistent. Better information exchange was mentioned as the most important point for improvement of collaboration.
Current collaboration between general practitioners and preventive youth health physicians is suboptimal. There is room for improvement with respect to knowledge of each other’s competencies and tasks, trust, information exchange and support from within their own organisations and municipalities. These insights could help to shape and improve interprofessional collaboration in primary care for children, also regarding the youth teams created recently.
Conflict of interest and financial support: none declared.