03. tbl. 103. árg. 2017

General practice in Iceland and Norway: GPsˡ experience of different primary health care systems

Heimilislækningar á Íslandi og í Noregi: Reynsla lækna af ólíku fyrirkomulagi heilbrigðisþjónustu í löndunum tveimur

Introduction: Most GPs in Iceland are public employees on fixed salaries which is very different from their Norwegian colleagues. The aim of this study was to explore the experience of Icelandic GPs who have also worked as GPs in Norway and compare their experience of working in these two neighboring countries.

Material and methods: Data were collected through interviews with 16 GPs that during the study period 2009-2010 were all working in Iceland. Two to ten years had passed since their return from Norway. We used qualitative methodology, the Vancouver-School of doing phenomenology. This methodology seeks to increase understanding of human phenomena for the purpose of improving healthcare services.

Results: The doctors discussed the benefits of the different systems of delivering medical services. They saw the advantages of the Norwegian healthcare system mostly in that all Norwegians have their own GP, thus achieving a good overview of the health problems of each individual. The GPs are gatekeepers for medical services which potentially ­reduces duplication of medical services. The participants also noted more efficient medical services in Norway than in Iceland. What characterizes Icelandic healthcare outside the hospital from their perspective is direct patient contact with specialists without referrals from GPs and incomplete registration system of patients and much use of emergency services in Iceland.

Conclusion: Participants agreed upon stronger primary healthcare system in Norway compared to Iceland. Moreover, a good job situation in primary care is needed in Iceland to appeal to junior doctors. When changes are made to the Icelandic healthcare system it is important to acknowledge the experience of neighboring countries in terms of advancing health care system reforms.

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Þetta vefsvæði byggir á Eplica