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Has the quality of health care for the immigrant population changed during the economic crisis in Catalonia (Spain)? Opinions of health professionals and immigrant users

Has the quality of health care for the immigrant population changed during the economic crisis in Catalonia (Spain)? Opinions of health professionals and immigrant users

Gaceta Sanitaria

To analyse changes in health professionals' and immigrant users' perceptions of the quality of care provided to the immigrant population during the crisis. A qualitative descriptive-interpretative and exploratory study was conducted in two areas of Catalonia. Semi-structured individual interviews were used with a theoretical sample of medical (n=24) and administrative (n=10) professionals in primary care (PC) and secondary care (SC), and immigrant users (n=20). Thematic analysis was conducted and the results were triangulated. Problems related to technical and interpersonal quality emerged from the discourse of both professionals and immigrants. These problems were attributed to cutbacks during the economic crisis. Regarding technical quality, respondents reported an increase in erroneous or non-specific diagnoses, inappropriate use of diagnostic tests and non-specific treatments, due to reduction in consultation times as a result of cuts in human resources. With regard to interpersonal quality, professionals reported less empathy, and users also reported worse communication, due to changes in professionals' working conditions and users' attitudes. Finally, a reduction in the resolution capacity of the health services emerged: professionals described unnecessary repeated PC visits and limited responses in SC, while young immigrants reported an insufficient response to their health problems. The results indicate a deterioration in perceived technical and interpersonal quality during the economic crisis, due to cutbacks mainly in human resources. These changes affect the whole population, but especially immigrants.

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Accession: 059786171

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PMID: 28583698

DOI: 10.1016/j.gaceta.2017.03.010

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