The accessibility of vulnerable groups to health services in Greece: a Delphi study on the perceptions of health professionals

Authors


Correspondence to: Ioanna Karamitri, General Hospital of Kalamata, Messinia, Greece. E-mail: ikaramitri@yahoo.gr

SUMMARY

Background

Problems of accessibility to healthcare services notably affect certain population groups such as poor and unemployed people, migrants and minorities, thus having a negative impact on their health. The aim of this study was to investigate these problems from the perspective of health professionals and to formulate empirically informed suggestions to solve the issue.

Methods

Primary data were collected in 2010–2011 by using a panel of 36 experienced health professionals around Greece. A two-round Delphi method was undertaken to achieve the objectives of the study. The first questionnaire investigated the factors that hinder accessibility to health services. The second round aimed at determining the relative importance of each of the factors emerging in the first round.

Results

The group of experts identified 345 factors in the first round, which were grouped in 55 statements. Consensus was achieved in 22 statements. The study revealed important issues, and health professionals proposed a number of actions to eliminate the accessibility problems.

Conclusions

The use of medical interpreters and cultural mediators, transcultural education and stronger linkages among medical facilities are important to reduce accessibility problems. Restructuring primary healthcare and better documenting of the beneficiaries could also improve the quality of provided healthcare services. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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