Differences in unmet healthcare needs between public and private primary care providers: A population-based study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aims: To investigate if any differences in unmet healthcare needs between persons registered at public and private primary care providers exist in Skåne (southernmost Sweden). Methods:The 2012 public health survey in Skåne was conducted with a postal questionnaire and included 28,029 respondents aged between 18 and 80 years. The study was cross-sectional. If the responder in the last three months had perceived oneself to be in need of medical care by a physician but did not seek it, this was used as a measure of unmet healthcare needs. Differences in unmet healthcare needs in relation to the primary care provider were investigated while adjusting for socioeconomic status and self-rated health in a logistic regression. Results: Differences in unmet healthcare needs were small and non-significant when comparing public and private healthcare providers. Non-manual workers were to a somewhat higher extent using private providers while manual workers showed a reverse pattern. Unmet healthcare needs had decreased slightly since 2008, but so had the response rate. Conclusions: With the current primary care system, no significant differences in unmet healthcare needs seem to exist when comparing public and private providers. It is likely that the providers are similar in their organizational setup, accessibility and doctor-patient continuity. Still more studies need to be done, preferably in a way so that uncertainty about what type of primary care provider the respondent is listed at can be avoided and perhaps using a longer time interval for unmet needs so that more subjects could be included.


External organisations
  • University of Gothenburg
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • healthcare provider, primary care, self-rated health, socioeconomic status, Sweden, Unmet healthcare needs
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-494
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Issue number4
Early online date2018 Mar 1
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jun
Publication categoryResearch

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