To describe social differences in postponing a general practitioner visit in 31 European countries and to explore whether primary care strength is associated with postponement rates.
Between October 2011 and December 2013, the multicountry study collected data on 61,931 patients and 7,183 general practitioners throughout Europe.
Access to primary care was measured by asking the patients whether they postponed a general practitioner visit in the past year. Social differences were described according to patients’ self‐rated household income, education, ethnicity, and gender.
Data were analyzed using multivariable and multilevel binomial logistic regression analyses.
According to the variance–decomposition in the multilevel analysis, most of the variance can be explained by patient characteristics. Postponement of general practitioner care is higher for patients with a low self‐rated household income, a low education level, and a migration background. In addition, although the point estimates are consistent with a substantial effect, no statistically significant association between primary care strength and postponement in the 31 countries is determined.
Despite the universal and egalitarian goals of health care systems, access to general practitioner care in Europe is still determined by patients’ socioeconomic status (self‐rated household income and education) and migration background.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods