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Fam Pract. 1991 Sep;8(3):237-42.

Key determinants of consumer satisfaction with general practice.

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Centre for Health Services Studies, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK.


Consumer satisfaction is an increasingly important issue, both in the evaluation and the shaping of health care, yet the relationship between specific criteria of health care and overall levels of consumer satisfaction with primary care is rarely addressed. The study reported here, based upon the results of a postal questionnaire of a random sample of adults in the south east of England (response rate 62%, n = 454), attempts to address this issue. Whilst general levels of satisfaction were high (95%), questions of a more detailed and specific nature revealed greater levels of dissatisfaction (e.g. 38% felt unable to discuss personal problems with their GP, 26% expressed dissatisfaction with the level of information they received, and 25% were dissatisfied with the length of time spent in consultation). Key dimensions such as communication (0.64; p less than 0.001), the nature and quality of the doctor-patient relationship (0.61; p less than 0.001) and the GP's professional skills (0.58; p less than 0.001)--vis-a-vis issues such as access, availability and type of service provision--were found to be the criteria which were most strongly associated with overall levels of satisfaction with general practice. The policy implications of these findings in the light of the recent Government White Papers, Promoting Better Health and Working for Patients, are discussed.

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