Health & Social Care in the Community vol:21 issue:4 pages:364-72
One of the main goals of primary care is providing equitable health-care, meaning equal access, equal treatment and equal outcomes of healthcare for all in equal need. Some studies show that patients from lower socioeconomic groups visit a GP more often, while other studies show that they are more likely to postpone a visit to a GP. In this study, we want to explore within the social group of low-income patients living in Flanders, Belgium, which patients have a higher risk of postponing a visit to a GP. A face-to-face questionnaire was administered among 606 low-income users of Public Social Services. The questionnaire consisted of questions on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics, social networks, health and healthcare use. A multivariate logistic regression model was built to study the relationship between postponing or cancelling a GP visit which respondents thought they needed and variables on health, socio-demographic background. The multivariate regression indicates that depression, self-rated health and trust in the GP independently predict postponing a visit to a GP. Low-income people with a low trust in the GP, people with a poor self-rated health and people suffering from a severe depression are more likely to postpone or cancel a GP visit they thought they needed compared to other people on low incomes. This might indicate that the access to health-care for low-income people might be hindered by barriers which are not directly linked to the cost of the consultation.