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Open Access Research article

A snapshot of the organization and provision of primary care in Turkey

Dionne S Kringos1*, Wienke GW Boerma1, Ernst Spaan2 and Martina Pellny3

Author Affiliations

1 NIVEL-Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research, Otterstraat 114-118, 3500 BN Utrecht, The Netherlands

2 Radboud University Nijmegen Medical Center, PO Box 9101, 6500 HB Nijmegen, The Netherlands

3 World Health Organization, Level 4, Provident Plaza One, Downtown Boulevard, 33 Ellerly Street, Suva, Fiji

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:90  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-90

Published: 4 May 2011

Abstract

Background

This WHO study aimed to support Turkey in its efforts to strengthen the primary care (PC) system by implementing the WHO Primary Care Evaluation Tool (PCET). This article provides an overview of the organization and provision of primary care in Turkey.

Methods

The WHO Primary Care Evaluation Tool was implemented in two provinces (Bolu and Eski┼čehir) in Turkey in 2007/08. The Tool consists of three parts: a national questionnaire concerning the organisation and financing of primary care; a questionnaire for family doctors; and a questionnaire for patients who visit a family health centre.

Results

Primary care has just recently become an official health policy priority with the introduction of a family medicine scheme. Although the supply of family doctors (FDs) has improved, they are geographically uneven distributed, and nationwide shortages of primary care staff remain. Coordination of care could be improved and quality control mechanisms were lacking. However, patients were very satisfied with the treatment by FDs.

Conclusions

The study provides an overview of the current state of PC in Turkey for two provinces with newly introduced family medicine, by using a structured approach to evaluate the essential functions of PC, including governance, financing, resource generation, as well as the characteristics of a "good" service delivery system (as being accessible, comprehensive, coordinated and continuous).