[Patient satisfaction with general practice services before and after the list patient reform]

Jostein Grytten, Irene Skau, Fredrik Carlsen
Tidsskrift for Den Norske Lægeforening: Tidsskrift for Praktisk Medicin, Ny Række 2004 March 4, 124 (5): 652-4

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to investigate how satisfied people are with general practitioners' (GPs') services before and after the introduction of a list patient system in Norway.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Data were collected from two national questionnaire surveys carried out in 2000 and 2003. Satisfaction was measured on two dimensions: satisfaction with access and satisfaction with the physician and the actual treatment.

RESULTS: The level of satisfaction with GPs' services was high before the reform. This was particularly the case with regard to the second dimension: satisfaction with the GP and the actual treatment (for example, evaluation of the GP's competence). There were only small changes in these indicators from 2000 to 2003, but the changes were for the better. The changes in the indicators for the first dimension (those with the lowest scores before the reform): satisfaction with access (e.g. physicians-to-population ratio in the district and waiting time for an appointment)--were greater and also positive. Respondents in large and medium-sized municipalities reported the highest increase in satisfaction with access. There were no changes with regard to emergency services. The proportion of people who had used more than one physician during the last year was down from 38% to 29%.

INTERPRETATION: Higher satisfaction with GPs' services has occurred after the introduction of a list patient system and the associated improvement in the GPs-to-population ratio. That fewer people changed their GP may be the result of more stability in physician posts. It may also be associated with greater satisfaction with people's access to their own GP after the reform.

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