Patients’ Opinions on Family Doctor Accessibility in Estonia.

Patients’ Opinions on Family Doctor Accessibility in Estonia

PHD Ruth Kalda, PHD Kaja Põlluste1, PHD Heidi-Ingrid Maaroos, PHD Margus Lember2. Departments of Polyclinic and Family Medicine; Public Health 1; and Internal Medicine 2, Tartu University, Tartu, Estonia.

Aim. To investigate the accessibility of family doctors in Estonia from the patients’ point of view.

Methods. Face to face interviews using structured questionnaires were performed. A random sample of the Estonian residents, aged 15-74 years, was studied (n=999).

Results. The number of visits provided by family doctors has been continuously increasing since1998. Out of 999 respondents, 59 % visited the family doctor during the previous 12 months. The average number of visits per Estonian resident in one year is 2.48. Out of 999 interviewed persons, 72 % said that they had a possibility of contacting their family doctor by phone. The waiting time for an appointment was short in most cases. The family doctor admitted 60 % of the Respondents on the same day the patients had requested; 22 % of the patients were admitted within 1-2 days and 9% of the patients were admitted within 3-4 days. Only 9% of them had to wait more than 5 days. The current home visit fee in Estonia would have affected the decision of the home call of 58 % of people. There was a correlation between the acceptability of a visit fee and the people’s income.

Conclusion. The accessibility of family doctors can be considered good in Estonia.

Key words: family practice; health care reform; health services accessibility.

Kalda R, Põlluste K, Maaroos H-I, Lember M. Patients’ Opinions on Family Doctor Accessibility in Estonia. Shidnoevr. z. vnutr. simejnoi med. 2015;2:50-54.


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