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Primary care in five European countries: A citizens’ perspective on the quality of care for children

Author: Til, J.A. van · Groothuis-Oudshoorn, C.G.M. · Vlasblom, E. · Kocken, P.L. · Boere-Boonekamp, M.M.
Source:Plos One, 11, 14, e224550
Identifier: 870053
doi: doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0224550
Keywords: Children · Primary care · Adult · Aged · Child health care · Child rights · Clinical competence · Confidentiality · Consultation · Controlled study · Descriptive research · EU citizen · Female · Germany · Health care access · Health care cost · Health care delivery · Health care quality · Health care system · Health survey · Human · Human dignity · Intersectoral collaboration · Male · Managed care · Medical information · Medical record · Netherlands · Patient referral · Poland · Primary medical care · Scoring system · Spain · United Kingdom · Life · CH - Child Health


Objective. As part of the Models of Child Health Appraised (MOCHA) project, this study aimed to answer the following research questions: 1) How do European citizens perceive the quality of primary health care provided for children? And 2) What are their priorities with respect to quality assessment of primary health care aimed at satisfying children’s needs? Methods. Nine potential attributes of quality of primary care were operationalized in 40 quality aspects. An online survey was used to elicit opinions in a representative sample of citizens of Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and the United Kingdom. Data collection comprised: background characteristics; perceived quality of primary health care for children; and priority setting of quality aspects. Descriptive analysis was performed and differences between groups were tested using Chi-Square test and ANOVA. Results. Valid results were obtained from 2403 respondents. Mean satisfaction with quality of primary care ranged from 5.5 (Poland) to 7.2 (Spain). On average, between 56% (Poland) and 70% (Netherlands) of respondents had a positive perception of the primary health care system for children in their country. The ability of a child to limit their parents’ access to the child’s medical records was judged most negatively in all countries (average agreement score 28%, range 12–36%). The right of a child to a confidential consultation was judged most differently between countries (average agreement score 61%, range 40–75%). Overall top-10 priorities in ensuring high quality primary care were: timeliness (accessibility); skills/competences, management, facilities (appropriateness); no costs (affordability); information, dignity/respect (continuity); and swift referrals, collaboration (coordination). Discussion. Between countries, significant differences exist in the perceived quality of primary care and priorities with regard to quality assessment. Taking into account the citizens’ perspective in decision-making means that aspects with low perceived quality that are highly prioritizedwarrant further action.