In the opinion of the public, accessibility is probably one of the most important features of general practice. More than 3,500 patients in North Norway answered a questionnaire asking for their opinions on waiting time for consultation, the time spent in consultation and the possibility of the doctor visiting them at home. 80% thought that a waiting time of more than one week was too long. The actual waiting times differ considerably, but only a few practices serving less than 900 inhabitants per physician managed to satisfy their patients. On the other hand, about 80% found the time allocated for the consultation to be adequate. Almost half the patients who expressed an opinion thought it too difficult to get a doctor to visit them at home. Less than 10% considered a long distance to travel to a doctor to be an obstacle. Not surprisingly, young people were most demanding as regards quick service. Men were somewhat more satisfied than women, as were patients in rural areas compared with patients in the towns. In our opinion, some of the patients' causes of dissatisfaction can be removed by better routines. However, it seems that the resources available within general practice, are inadequate to meet all the patients' wishes, either now or in the future.
Radiotherapeutical resources in Norway are inadequate, which was further verified in this retrospective study of 73 patients with cancer of head and neck. The average duration of symptoms before the first ear-nose-throat examination was 153 days, and it took about 10 days after the examination to get the diagnosis. An unacceptably long time (mean 30 days) elapsed between the decision on therapy until the radiotherapy was initiated. There is no doubt that radiotherapy departments in Norway need better resources.
3,739 patients in North-Norway were asked about the preferred time of day for an appointment with the doctor. One in five indicated a time outside current opening hours. The oldest patients, and those living in rural areas, were the groups who preferred current opening hours. More than half the patients aged 21-64 indicated that the time they preferred was during their own free time. The study shows that an adjustment in the opening hours of doctors' practices is necessary if the patients' wishes are to be accommodated.
From July 1990 to July 1991 252 cancer patients admitted consecutively to the Department of Oncology, University Hospital of TromsÃ¸, were included in a questionnaire-based study. The aim of the study was to examine the delays involved in the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The study also focused on the psychological distress related to these periods of delay. A significant correlation between psychological distress and the actual length of delay (weeks) was revealed (p
A questionnaire was sent to all persons 40 years of age (born in 1947) living in the county of Aust-Agder (n = 1547). The questionnaire included questions concerning dental office visiting habits, stability of relationship dentist-patient, and socio-economic status. 84% answered the questionnaire. Persons who answered that they did not have a recall agreement with any dentist were offered a free dental examination (324 of 1517). 83% had visited the dentist annually the last three years, thus considered to be stable patients. Regular patients were also very stable in relation to their dentist: 89% had visited same dentist for the last 5 years. Dental health data of persons without a recall agreement were examined clinically. Of 324 persons, 137 met for clinical examination. The data from these persons were classified according to socio-economic level and regularity of visiting habits. The DMFT number was almost independent of those variables. The DMFT-index's single components differed between the groups. The regular patients from higher socio-economic levels had more fillings. More missing teeth were found among irregular patients from lower socio-economic levels. This indicates that the latter group have chosen the least expensive alternative, i.e. extraction, when in need of acute treatment, and that they have a greater accumulated need of treatment. This tendency also applied to the need of periodontal therapy. More than 59% of persons with CPITN maximum score 3 or 4 belonged to irregular patients from lower socio-economic groups.
BACKGROUND: The article discusses the effect of general practitioners' gender and workload on patients' experience with consultation time, waiting hours, use of out-of-hours services and planned health visits. MATERIAL AND METHODS: Data were retrieved from the 2003 version of Statistics Norway's household panel study (5000 persons) and the National Insurance administration's register of regular general practitioners. RESULTS: Health condition was the most important factor related to patient experiences. A high workload was neither associated with more frequent use of out-of-hours services nor satisfaction with time spent in consultation. These results apply to physicians of both genders. Patients who used a female physician with a large workload had to wait longer for an appointment and more often reported dissatisfaction with the waiting time; this was not the case for male physicians. However, male physicians with a low workload had shorter waiting times. INTERPRETATION: Patients who use practitioners with a high workload may have chosen their doctor more deliberately than others, which may be an explanation for few negative outcomes for physicians with a high workload. It is unlikely that these physicians would be as popular if the patients had fewer appointments, shorter consultations or more often had to use the out-of-hours services. Longer waiting time for appointments with female doctors may be related to more part time work, and the fact that female physicians more often are engaged in group practices.
A list patient project was carried out in four Norwegian municipalities in 1993. Female general practitioners from one of the involved communities soon showed frustration about the their experience that the new system had increased their work load. Although the new system was intended primarily to serve the needs of the population, the problems experienced by the female doctors were taken as warnings about future problems for the servants of the system. We therefore wanted to study relationships between experienced work load, list profiles and procedures for establishment of the patient lists among male and female doctors in Trondheim and Tromsø, the two largest project municipalities. Our data confirm the impression of increased work load and dissatisfaction with the list profiles. We find that female doctors have shorter lists and a higher proportion of female patients, and are less accessible. We discuss elements which might influence these problems in the future, especially as regards list profiles, the establishment of lists, and priorities related to people's free choice of doctor.