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Title: Patient attendance at a primary health care centre in Malta : a cross-sectional observational study
Authors: Baldacchino, Marilyn
Abela, Jurgen
Reiff, Elanja Marie
Grima, Julian
Attard, Lorna
Ellul, Robert
Keywords: Primary health care -- Malta
Comorbidity -- Malta
Physicians (General practice) -- Malta
Physician and patient
Issue Date: 2017-12
Publisher: Malta College of Family Doctors
Citation: Baldacchino, M., Abela, J., Reiff, E. M., Grima, J., Attard, L., & Ellul, R. (2017). Patient attendance at a primary health care centre in Malta : a cross-sectional observational study. Journal of the Malta College of Family Doctors, 6(3), 31-38.
Abstract: Introduction The aim of the study was to describe the reason for consultation of patients attending the General Practitioner (GP) service at a major local health centre and also to get a clinical profile of the patients making use of such health service. This study is based in the publiclyfunded primary health system in Malta and focuses on Mosta Health Centre. Methodology This was a cross-sectional observational study carried out in January 2017. Only the patients seen in the GP clinics were included. All six authors are practicing GPs. All the patients that the authors encountered in the GP clinics were included in the study. The fact that all authors work in different shifts and days allowed for a broad and random inclusion of patients. Patients attending out-ofhours and in weekends were also included. A pilot oneweek period of data collection was carried out. Thereafter, all six authors had an Excel spreadsheet uploaded on the work computer system in the GP consulting rooms, so that patient data was inputted in real-time at the end of each consultation. Data was inputted in Excel 2010 and analysed using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) 22. Results A total of 820 patients were included in the study. 51.8% of patients were females, whilst 74.8% of patients were born in Malta. 50.2% of patients raised more than one issue during a single consultation, whilst the most common co-morbidity noted was hypertension. The most common reasons for consultation were related to the respiratory and musculoskeletal systems. Various significant associations were observed, most importantly being between the time of attendance and number of issues brought up during a consultation; between being born in Malta and number of issues brought up during a consultation; and between age and number of issues brought up during a single consultation. Conclusion This study involved 820 patients attending Mosta Health Centre over a one-month period during winter 2017. During a single episode of care (visit), Maltese nationals consult for a greater number of issues. In addition, they have a greater number of co-morbidities than non-Maltese nationals. People attending between 08.00 and 17.00 hours tend to present with a greater number of issues for management. Suggestions for service development have been put forward in the discussion. Ideally, such studies should be conducted independently in different health centres given the notable differences in the catchment areas, and during different months of the year.
Appears in Collections:JMCFD, Volume 6, Issue 3
JMCFD, Volume 6, Issue 3
Scholarly Works - FacM&SFM

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