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Scand J Soc Med. 1978;6(3):105-9.

Use of physician services by a middle-aged population in a rural health centre district in southwest Finland. Descriptive distributions.


The use of physician services by a middle-aged population was investigated in connection with a multiphasic screening programme in two rural municipalities in Southwest Finland. The screening programme was attended by 1223 (93.2%) females and 1045 (93.4%) males, 40 to 64 years of age. Two-thirds of the subjects (61% of the men and 69% of the women) had seen a doctor during the previous year because of illness, symptoms or accident. The mean of the face-to-face physician contacts was 2.3 times a year per person, the women having had more contacts (2.4) than the men (2.1). In all, about half (52%) of the subjects had visited the health centre physician during the previous year for the previously mentioned reasons. Ten per cent of the subjects had seen a private specialist and another 10% had seen a physician at an outpatient clinic of a central or district hospital. More than one-third of those who had seen a physician at the health centre had visited the health centre at least three times within a year, whereas only one-sixth of those who had used the services of a private practitioner had seen the private practitioner as often. Proportionately, those visiting mental health offices used the services of a physician the most often, for the majority of them (77%) had seen a psychiatrist at this office at least three times during the year.

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