Variation in hepatitis C services may lead to inequity of heath-care provision: a survey of the organisation and delivery of services in the United Kingdom. (1/2110)

BACKGROUND: Chronic hepatitis C infection (CHC) is a major healthcare problem. Effective anti-viral therapy is available. To maximise population effectiveness, co-ordinated services for detection and management of patients with CHC are required. There is a need to determine patterns of healthcare delivery to plan improvements. A study was conducted to determine workload, configuration and care processes of current UK services available to manage patients with CHC. METHODS: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey of consultant members of British Association for the Study of the Liver (n = 53), Infectious Disease consultants (n = 43), and a 1 in 5 sample of Genito-Urinary Medicine (n = 48) and gastroenterologists (n = 200). RESULTS: Response rate was 70%. 40% of respondents provided a comprehensive service (included treatment and follow-up): speciality of clinical leads identified as Hepatology (37%); Gastroenterology (47%); and Infectious Disease (16%). The estimated number of patients managed by respondents was about 23,000 with an upward trend over the previous 3 years. There was variation between comprehensive service providers, including unit size, eligibility criteria for treatment, and drug regimes. Key barriers to quality of care identified were staffing capacity, funding of treatment and patient non-attendance. Most English strategic health authorities had at least one comprehensive service provider. CONCLUSION: There was significant variation in all aspects of the patient pathway which may contribute to inequity of health care provision. Services need to be expanded to form geographical clinical networks, and properly resourced to ensure greater uptake and more equitable delivery of services if the future burden of chronic liver disease is to be reduced.  (+info)

Health care provision for illegal migrants: may health policy make a difference? (2/2110)

Illegal migrants in Europe are, generally, only entitled to emergency care and services for children and pregnant women. In 2002 legal changes in Spain made accessible medical cards and free medical care for illegal migrants in similar terms than the legal migrants or the Spanish population. We interviewed 380 migrants to assess whether there were differences on health services utilization by legal status. We did not find differences in the utilization of health services when ill between legal and illegal migrants. However, a significantly lower utilization of health services was associated with less education (RP = 0.4; 95% CI: 0.2-0.9).  (+info)

Ethnic segregation in Kosovo's post-war health care system. (3/2110)

BACKGROUND: Seven years after the end of war in Kosovo, Final Status Negotiations have begun to determine the long-term political future of the province. This article provides an overview of the present situation regarding ethnic groups and their relations in Kosovo's health care system that might be helpful in preparing for the array of potential ramifications and repercussions that could arise at the conclusion of the negotiations. METHODS: A review of the literature (including grey) was performed, and 16 interviews and two focus groups with key informants were conducted in Kosovo during October and November 2004. In addition, six informal discussions were held in-person or by telephone in London. Information collected in 2004 was re-confirmed and partially updated in October and November 2005, when three additional interviews were conducted in Kosovo. RESULTS: Ongoing ethnic tensions in Kosovo, mainly between the Albanian and Serb populations, perpetuate a rigidly segregated health care system. Some other minority communities, such as the Roma, Ashkali and Egyptians, are afflicted by the double burden of getting caught up in the middle of these ethnic disputes and at the same time suffering from poverty and discrimination. CONCLUSION: While efforts have been put forward to promote peace-building within Kosovo's post-war health sector, very little progress has been achieved in fostering ethnic integration, reconciliation, cooperation or even co-existence. This failure reflects Kosovo's broader unresolved inter-ethnic problems. Final Status Negotiations are one of the last opportunities for the international community to address the problems of ethnic segregation in the province.  (+info)

Motivation and relevance of emergency room visits among immigrants and patients of Danish origin. (4/2110)

BACKGROUND: We investigated the extent to which immigrants and patients of Danish origin have different motivations for seeking emergency room (ER) treatment, and differences in the relevance of their claims. METHODS: Data were obtained from a questionnaire survey of walk-in patients and their caregivers at four Copenhagen ERs. The patient survey was available in nine languages, and addressed patient-identified reasons for using the ER. Caregivers were asked if the claim was appropriate to the ER. 3809 patients and 3905 caregivers responded. The response rate among patients was 54%. Only questionnaires in which both patient and caregiver had responded, and in which data on the patient's nationality were available, were included in the analyses (n = 3426). The effect of region of origin was examined using bivariate, stratified analyses and tested for independence. RESULTS: More among immigrant patients than among patients of Danish origin had considered contacting a primary caregiver before visiting the ER, and more immigrants reported going to the ER because they could not contact a general practitioner, or could not explain their problem on the telephone. Compared to immigrants, more patients of Danish origin explained that the ER was most relevant to their need. A higher proportion of claims among immigrants were seen by caregivers as not being appropriate to the ER. CONCLUSION: Migrants have more irrelevant ER claims, presumably because of barriers in access to primary care. Access to primary care should be facilitated for these groups. Alternatively, ERs could include primary care activities as part of their services.  (+info)

End-of-life care for nursing home residents dying from cancer in Nova Scotia, Canada, 2000-2003. (5/2110)

INTRODUCTION: With our population aging, an increasing proportion of cancer deaths will occur in nursing homes, yet little is known about their end-of-life care. This paper identifies associations between residing in a nursing home and end-of-life palliative cancer care, controlling for demographic factors. METHODS: For this population-based study, a data file was created by linking individual-level data from the Nova Scotia Cancer Centre Oncology Patient Information System, Vital Statistics, and the Halifax and Cape Breton Palliative Care Programs for all persons 65 years and over dying of cancer from 2000 to 2003. Multivariate logistic regression was used to compare nursing home residents to nonresidents. RESULTS: Among the 7,587 subjects, 1,008 (13.3%) were nursing home residents. Nursing home residents were more likely to be female [adjusted odds ratio (OR) 1.4, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.2-1.7], older (for > or = 90 vs 65-69 years OR 5.4, CI 4.1-7.0), rural (OR 1.5, CI 1.2-1.8), have only a death certificate cancer diagnosis (OR 4.2, CI 2.8-6.3), and die out of hospital (OR 8.5, CI 7.2-10.0). Nursing home residents were less likely to receive palliative radiation (OR 0.6, CI 0.4-0.7), medical oncology consultation (OR 0.2, CI 0.1-0.4), and palliative care program enrollment (Halifax OR 0.2, CI 0.2-0.3; Cape Breton OR 0.4, CI 0.3-0.7). CONCLUSION: Demographic characteristics and end-of-life services differ between those residing and those not residing in nursing homes. These inequalities may or may not reflect inequities in access to quality end-of-life care.  (+info)

Statins prescribing for the secondary prevention of ischaemic heart disease in Torino, Italy. A case of ageism and social inequalities. (6/2110)

BACKGROUND: Socio-demographic and clinical characteristics can influence statins prescribing for the secondary prevention of ischaemic heart disease (IHD). We studied the determinants of the prescription of statins in people with IHD in a population in Italy, the country with the lowest prescribing rate in Europe. METHODS: All 2001/2002 residents in Torino, aged 30-85 years, with a hospital discharge diagnosis of IHD were linked to the regional Database of Drug Prescriptions to identify those persons who, within 3 months after discharge, had been prescribed statins. Log-binomial models were used to test statins prescription associations with clinical and socio-demographic characteristics. RESULTS: Statins were prescribed to 31.0% of 7446 patients. Among persons >74 years of age, the prescription rate was 40% lower than that found for younger persons. A positive association was also found for: female gender, being married, a main discharge diagnosis of acute myocardial infarction, revascularization, diabetes and discharge from a cardiology ward. Age was an important effect modifier of the relationship between the prescribing rate and social, but not clinical, determinants. CONCLUSIONS: The prevention of IHD with statins is influenced by age, clinical and social factors. The prescribing rate is higher among population groups for whom statins are of proven efficacy. Among patients for whom the efficacy is uncertain, the decision to prescribe is influenced by non-clinical factors, suggesting that there exist both age-based and social-based mechanisms of rationing. Age and social determinants act in concert to further reduce the propensity of physicians to prescribe statins.  (+info)

Gender and health promotion: a multisectoral policy approach. (7/2110)

Women and men are different as regards their biology, the roles and responsibilities that society assigns to them and their position in the family and community. These factors have a great influence on causes, consequences and management of diseases and ill-health and on the efficacy of health promotion policies and programmes. This is confirmed by evidence on male-female differences in cause-specific mortality and morbidity and exposure to risk factors. Health promoting interventions aimed at ensuring safe and supportive environments, healthy living conditions and lifestyles, community involvement and participation, access to essential facilities and to social and health services need to address these differences between women and men, boys and girls in an equitable manner in order to be effective. The aim of this paper is to (i) demonstrate that health promotion policies that take women's and men's differential biological and social vulnerability to health risks and the unequal power relationships between the sexes into account are more likely to be successful and effective compared to policies that are not concerned with such differences, and (ii) discuss what is required to build a multisectoral policy response to gender inequities in health through health promotion and disease prevention. The requirements discussed in the paper include i) the establishment of joint commitment for policy within society through setting objectives related to gender equality and equity in health as well as health promotion, ii) an assessment and analysis of gender inequalities affecting health and determinants of health, iii) the actions needed to tackle the main determinants of those inequalities and iv) documentation and dissemination of effective and gender sensitive policy interventions to promote health. In the discussion of these key policy elements, we use illustrative examples of good practices from different countries around the world.  (+info)

Community capacity building and health promotion in a globalized world. (8/2110)

In this paper, community capacity building (CCB) is seen as part of a long-standing health promotion tradition involving community action in health promotion. The conceptual context of the term CCB is presented, and compared with other community approaches. The usage of the term is variable. It is submitted that its common features are (i) the concepts of capacity and empowerment (versus disease and deficiency), (ii) bottom-up, community-determined agendas and actions and (iii) processes for developing competence. A brief literature review looks at some of the main contributions from the 1990 s on, which reveal an emphasis on building competencies, the measurement of community capacity and the attempt to break CCB down into operational components. Academic research on the impact of CCB on health is lacking, but multiple case studies documented in the 'grey literature' suggest CCB is highly effective, as does research in related areas, such as community empowerment. Five contemporary case studies submitted by the contributing authors show both the range and efficacy of CCB applications. The concluding synthesis and recommendations say that what is needed for health promotion in a globalized world is a balance between global macro (policy, regulatory, etc.) actions and those of the human and local scale represented by CCB. It is concluded that action centred on empowered and capable communities, in synergistic collaboration with other key players, may be the most powerful instrument available for the future of health promotion in a globalized world.  (+info)