Rural primary care in Greece: working under limited resources

Eirini Oikonomidou, Foteini Anastasiou, Dimitris Dervas, Fani Patri, Dionisis Karaklidis, Panagiotis Moustakas, Niki Andreadou, Enagellos Mantzanas, Bodossakis Merkouris
International Journal for Quality in Health Care 2010, 22 (4): 333-7

OBJECTIVE: Establishing sufficient primary health-care services in rural areas is of high interest in developing health systems. The objective of the present study was to describe the state of rural health services, in terms of personnel and equipment, in rural primary care settings in Greece.

DESIGN: A questionnaire was sent to all Greek rural settings (RS) (practices) twice during 2007. The questionnaire included questions about the number of doctors in the practice, their specialty, presence of a nurse, population served and average distance from the regional Health Center and hospital. It also included questions about the average number of consultations per day, home visits, maintenance of medical records and medical equipment.

SETTING: Rural primary care settings in Greece.

PARTICIPANTS: Doctors serving primary care needs during the second half of 2007.


MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: s) Data concerning staffing, function and available equipment of the RS have been collected.

RESULTS: Five hundred eighty-two (40.9%) of the rural practitioners replied. Twenty-nine percent of the participants were general practitioners (GPs). Doctors reported average population of responsibility of 2263 citizens and a regular average of 26 consultations per day. A nurse was present in 174 RS (29.5%). Medical records of any form were kept in only 36% of the RS. GPs were more prone to maintain patients files compared with non-specialized doctors. Essential equipment proved to be limited in the majority of the RS.

CONCLUSIONS: Rural practices in Greece report shortages of medical staff (GPs), nursing staff and equipment.

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