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“Unchaining the doctor from the desk”: deliberate team-based care in action

Caroline Robertson (Three Rivers UDRH, Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia)
Tabitha Jones (Three Rivers UDRH, Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia)
Philippa Southwell (Three Rivers UDRH, Charles Sturt University, Orange, Australia)

Journal of Integrated Care

ISSN: 1476-9018

Article publication date: 23 August 2022

Issue publication date: 7 February 2023




As a model of integrated care (IC), deliberate team-based care (DTBC) can help address workforce shortages facing rural communities by improving the health and wellbeing of healthcare providers. This study focuses on a GP practice implementing DTBC in rural Australia. The aim of this research was to understand the perspectives of the healthcare workers involved and to ascertain factors impacting on the day to day running of the model, patient care and clinician work-life. The authors conducted a qualitative study on the experiences of the DTBC workers.


Team members were invited to participate in semi-structured interviews (n = 9). Interviews were analysed using an iterative thematic analysis, summarised, collated and explored for emergent themes.


Key themes included: creating change from old ways of doing things, development and implementation processes outlining how the model evolved and how it ran from day to day, model outcomes for patients and clinicians, as well as practical considerations like funding, technology and time.


Building DTBC from the ground up has produced a high functioning team who demonstrate trust and equality, share information freely and all have a voice which is heard and respected. By acting as a champion and a leader, the GP has created a psychologically safe environment allowing the team to share knowledge, collaborate in problem solving and provide effective patient care which is holistic and community grounded. This work environment holds promise for creating improved work-life for rural clinicians and potential for workforce retention.



The authors would like to thank the members of the community who participated in this research and who gave up their valuable time to tell their stories.

Funding: This project was funded by Three Rivers University Department of Rural Health as part of the Australian Government's Rural Health Multidisciplinary Training Program.


Robertson, C., Jones, T. and Southwell, P. (2023), "“Unchaining the doctor from the desk”: deliberate team-based care in action", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 31 No. 1, pp. 35-48.



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