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Fam Pract. 2000 Jun;17(3):233-5.

Demographic characteristics and primary health care utilization patterns of strictly orthodox Jewish and non-Jewish patients.

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Department of Primary Health Care, University of Newcastle, School of Health Sciences, The Medical School, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4HH, UK.



The importance of providing health care services that are acceptable to different cultural groups is widely acknowledged. Strictly orthodox Jewish communities have particular health care needs that reflect their religious teaching and beliefs.


To describe the demographic characteristics and health care usage patterns of the strictly orthodox Jewish population of Gateshead.


Registration and claims data were used in combination with encounter data from computerized and manual practice records. Jewish patients were identified and comparisons made between Jewish and non-Jewish populations registered at the same practices.


The orthodox Jewish population was predominantly young (69% aged under 20). The birth rate in orthodox Jewish women aged 20-44 was much higher (294 per 1000) than non-Jewish women. Rates of uptake of cervical screening and childhood immunizations were significantly lower in the orthodox Jewish population. Uptake of breast screening and attendance at diabetic clinics did not differ significantly. The average number of consultations and home visits per annum was higher in Jewish than in non-Jewish patients.


The demographic and health care utilization patterns of orthodox Jewish and non-Jewish patients in Gateshead are different. There are implications for the provision of primary care services, particularly with regard to preventative health care.

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