Teams from the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL) and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna have recently published a paper in the WHO Bulletin, ‘Assessing the the potential for improvement of primary care in 34 countries: a cross-sectional survey (Schäfer et al., 2015). The paper was based on data from the Quality and Costs of Primary Care in Europe (QUALICOPC) study, funded by the EU Framework 7 programme, for which data for England were collected by Dr Sirdifield from the Community and Health Research Unit (CaHRU).
Schäfer et al’s paper draws on data from questionnaires on patient experiences and values relating to general practice assessing what patients from each of the 34 countries felt there was to improve five aspects of primary care: accessibility, continuity, comprehensiveness, patient involvement in treatment decisions, and doctor-patient communication. Overall, the authors concluded that “accessibility and continuity of care show relatively low potential for improvement, while in many countries comprehensiveness was indicated to be a priority area”. Nine countries had a moderate level of improvement potential for patient involvement in decision-making about treatment but all countries performed well on doctor-patient communication. The UK data indicate low patient-perceived improvement potential across all aspects of care with the exception of ‘comprehensiveness’, which had moderate potential for improvement.
The team from CaHRU (Dr Coral Sirdifield, Ana Godoy Caballero, Prof Niro Siriwardena and Dr Karen Windle ) are currently working with colleagues in the College of Social Science (Prof Steve McKay and Dr Christine Jackson) and Nivel (Dr Willemijn Schäfer) to further explore the data for England, investigating how satisfied patients are with primary care by identifying their expectations of care, the extent to which expectations are being met, variations in expectations and experiences, and how patient satisfaction could be improved.
Reference: Schäfer et al., (2015) Assessing the potential for improvement of primary care in 34 countries: a cross-sectional survey, Bull World Health Organ, 93: 161-168. doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.2471/BLT.14.140368