Assessing migrants’ satisfaction from health care services in Cyprus: a nationwide study

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Abstract

Purpose: As long as migration is recognized as a public health concern, policies exist to address migrants’ health, and provide comprehensive information on how public and private health care system operates, health rights and what their health care plan does or does not cover. Thereby, responding to patients’ expectations significantly affects overall satisfaction with health care services because this dimension is most strongly associated with patient satisfaction. The purpose of this paper is to constitute the first quantitative large-scale study (n=1,512) in Cyprus and Greece exploring the level of satisfaction among third-country nationals (TCN) in relation to their health care needs. Design/methodology/approach: The questionnaire used in this study has been developed and measured (Cronbach α =0.7) in a similar study in Greece (Galanis et al., 2013) and it has been used by other studies too (Vozikis, 2015). Findings: The authors can conclude that participants’ knowledge of the health system is not good as 70.2 percent that they do not have a good knowledge. The findings suggest that nearly one in two TCN faced problems in accessing clinics or communicating due to various factors. Practical implications: The findings of this study provide the context for further exploration of different means to improve cultural awareness amongst health and social care professionals, including multicultural training of health and social service providers and medical pluralist approaches that may be closer to migrants’ cultural and health background. Overall, types of interventions to improve cultural competency included training/workshops/programs for health practitioners (e.g. doctors, nurses and community health workers), culturally specific/tailored education or programs for patients/clients, interpreter services, peer education, patient navigators and exchange programs (Truong, 2014). To the above, practices can also be added as multicultural education to all health professionals in order to develop enthusiasm and be able to acknowledge immigrants’ difficulties. Adding to the above recommendation, interdisciplinary education with allied health professionals (psychologists, social workers and nurses) may lead to a more holistic approach of this group’s needs, especially in the forthcoming health system where primary care will play a vital role. Social implications: Access to the health system may lead to social inclusion of TCN in the local society and improve their quality of life. It is also important for TCN to feel that the current health system is aware of issues related to their social and cultural background; thus, it will make the health system and those who work look more friendly and approachable. Originality/value: In an era of crisis and of great debate around a forthcoming National Health System, these findings indicate that healthcare providers in Cyprus will need to address several challenges in managing care for migrants. In order for that to happen, assessing patient satisfaction is thereby important in the process of quality evaluation, especially when dealing with population subgroups at higher risk of inequalities such as immigrants or ethnic minorities. Such studies help systems to develop by measuring their weaknesses and enhancing their strengths. Voicing clients/patients feedback is always helpful to minimize risks.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Migration, Health and Social Care
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2019

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Keywords

  • Cultural competence
  • Evaluation
  • Health system
  • Patients’ satisfaction
  • Third-country nationals

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