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PDs: ‘GHS beneficiaries in need of training’

GHS Personal Doctors (PDs) are unhappy with the system’s beneficiaries at a rate of more than 80%, a new survey by the International Institute for Compassionate Care (IICC) has found.

The survey, published on Saturday by Phileleftheros, was conducted in June-July 2020 among GHS Personal Doctors and aimed at recording doctors’ experiences and recommendations one year after the implementation of the system in order to identify ways to improve care to beneficiaries.

The anonymous questionnaire was sent electronically to 365 Personal Doctors in June 2020, while focus groups comprising Personal Doctors were also put together in order to gather qualitative data and recommendations.

Doctors responded to all questions posed in the survey at a rate of 25.5%.

Results show a general dissatisfaction with a number of GHS issues. In particular, 80.59% of participants said they are not satisfied by the information sent out to beneficiaries while 81.72% said that they are not satisfied with beneficiaries’ demands.

Moreover, 57.16% of doctors said that they are often obligated to work outside normal hours and 59.9% said there is an absence in the system of criteria for referring patients as well as clinical guidelines.

However, doctors also said that they are happy with the system’s software at a rate of 54.84%, although some mentioned that they would like additional features.

As regards remuneration, doctors said they are pleased at a rate of 64.52%.

George Samoutis who headed the survey told Phileleftheros that “what the data shows is that GHS has achieved its goal to a great extent, specifically as regards the two of its three pillars; citizens’ access to services and equality. We found issues in the pillar of efficiency and the survey is pointing us to what we need to address.”

He added that overall, Personal Doctors in Cyprus believe that there is plenty of room for improvement of primary healthcare and call on healthcare policy officials to act imminently to ensure the system’s sustainability.

The demands of Personal Doctors

  • Inform beneficiaries properly on the role of the Personal Doctor
  • Compile the criteria for referrals to specialist doctors
  • More freedom with prescriptions

Researchers’ recommendations

  • Imminent implementation of clinical guidelines
  • Need for criteria for referrals to specialist doctors
  • Obligatory instructions to Personal and Specialist Doctors
  • Ability for Personal Doctors to prescribe low risk front-line medication to take pressure off Specialist Doctors
  • All beneficiaries to receive monthly statements on their use of services that mention the cost
  • Obligatory online training of Personal Doctors on clinical guidelines
  • Training of beneficiaries to use GHS services appropriately

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