Pharmacy World & Science

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 534–540 | Cite as

The journey to concordance for patients with hypertension: a qualitative study in primary care

  • Catherine Bane
  • Carmel M. HughesEmail author
  • Margaret E. Cupples
  • James C. McElnay
Research Article



We aimed to explore, using qualitative methods, the perspectives of patients with hypertension on issues relating to concordance in prescribing.


This study took place in NHS general practices in Northern Ireland. A purposeful sample of patients who had been prescribed anti-hypertensive medication for at least one year were invited to participate in focus groups or semi-structured interviews; data were analysed using constant comparison.

Main outcome measures

The perspectives of patients with hypertension on issues relating to concordance in prescribing.


Twenty-five individuals participated in five focus groups; two participated in semi-structured interviews. Participants felt they could make valuable contributions to consultations regarding their management. They were prepared to negotiate with GPs regarding their medication, but most deferred to their doctor’s advice, perceiving doctors’ attitudes and time constraints as barriers to their greater involvement in concordant decision-making. They had concerns about taking anti-hypertensive drugs, were aware of lifestyle influences on hypertension and reported using personal strategies to facilitate adherence and reduce the need to take medication.


Participants indicated a willingness to be␣involved in concordance in prescribing anti- hypertensive medication but needed health professionals to address their concerns and confusion about the nature of hypertension. These findings suggest that there is a need for doctors and other healthcare professionals with responsibility for prescribing to develop skills specifically to explore the beliefs and views underlying an individual’s medication use. Such skills may need to be developed through specific training programmes at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.


Communication Compliance Concordance General practice Hypertension Primary care Qualitative research Northern Ireland Health beliefs 


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The authors wish to thank the patients who participated in the focus groups. The authors also gratefully acknowledge the practice managers and GPs who helped with the logistical aspects of the study. Carmel Hughes is supported by a National Primary Care Career Scientist Award from the Research and Development Office, Northern Ireland. The study was funded under a School of Pharmacy PhD studentship to Catherine Bane. Conflicts of Interest: None declared.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Bane
    • 1
  • Carmel M. Hughes
    • 2
    Email author
  • Margaret E. Cupples
    • 3
  • James C. McElnay
    • 2
  1. 1.Research and Development OfficeBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK
  2. 2.School of PharmacyQueen’s University BelfastBelfastNorthern Ireland, UK
  3. 3.Department of General PracticeQueen’s UniversityBelfastUK

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