Day-to-day Rationing of Limited Resources in Swedish routine Primary Care: an interview study
2013 (English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
Background: Rationing is a reality in all health care, but little is known about day-to-day rationing in routine primary health care (PHC). This study aims to explore strategies to handle limited of resources in Swedish routine primary care.
Methods: Data were compiled from 62 interviews with healthcare professionals (general practitioners, nurses, physiotherapists, and managers at primary care centres). A qualitative research method was applied in the analysis.
Results: The interviewed staff described perceptions of a general public with high expectations on PHC in combination with a lack of resources. Strategies to cope with scarce resources were avoiding rationing, ad hoc rationing, or planned rationing. Rationing was largely implicit and not based on ethical principles or other defined criteria. Trying to avoid rationing resulted in unintended rationing. Ad hoc rationing had undesired consequences, e.g. inadequate continuity of care and displacing certain patient groups, especially the chronically ill and the elderly. The staff expressed a need for support and for applicable guidelines, and called for policy statements based on priority decisions to help manage the situation.
Conclusions: The interviews suggested a need to improve the transparency of priority setting procedures in PHC, although the nature of the PHC setting presents special challenges. Improving transparency could, in turn, improve equity and the efficient use of resources in PHC.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Medical and Health Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-88085OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-88085DiVA: diva2:601527