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Health Care Providers Perceptions about and Experiences of Achieving Equitable Health Care: An Evaluation Study

Background: In June 2011 the Swedish government signed an agreement with The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR), for a three year project to develop and implement “Health care on equal terms.” The project, which involved seven Primary Health Care Units (PHCU) from five county councils in different parts in Sweden, was completed in early 2014. The aim of the project was to develop methods and activities that could promote more equal health care provision in socio-economically disadvantaged areas.

Aim: To assess and compare health care providers’ experiences of and perceptions about equitable health care at the beginning and end of the national project “Health care on equal terms”.

Methods: A web survey was sent to all staff at the seven participating Primary Health Care Units (PHCU) at the beginning (2012) and the end (2013) of the project. Data were analyzed with descriptive statistics and the open issues with content analysis.

Results: In 2013, the percentage of health care providers who reported thinking patients’ ethnicity had no or very little impact on access to care increased, but the proportion of those who reported that they had “no idea” that patients’ gender, age, mental health and physical functioning were significant for access to care was lower in 2013 than in 2012. The results from analysis of the open-ended questions did not show meaningful changes in the respondents’ perceptions of the issues addressed in 2012-2013, but the analysis contributes to a deeper explanation of the answers.

Conclusion: The main conclusion is that it was possible to implement changes aiming for more equitable care through projects with a focus on learning.


Osman Aytar, Per Tillgren, Anne Söderlund, Lennart Bogg, Sharareh Akhavan

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