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British adults with chronic health conditions or impairments face significant barriers to accessing health services

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Public Health
Issue number11
Volume126
Number of pages8
Pages (from-to)920-927
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Objectives
To quantify the extent to which adults with chronic health conditions or impairments in Great Britain experience barriers to accessing health services in comparison to adults without impairments.

Study design
Secondary analysis of cross-sectional population-based survey data from the Life Opportunities Survey.

Methods
The Life Opportunities Survey interviewed a nationally representative sample of 37,513 individuals age 16 or older from 19,951 households. A subset of questions addressed disability status, health conditions and impairments, and participation restrictions in accessing public services. Simple bivariate and multivariate logistic regression (controlling for age, gender, and ethnicity) analyses were undertaken to estimate the risk that specific condition/impairment types were associated with barriers to accessing health care.

Results
Individuals with chronic health conditions or impairments were significantly more likely to report difficulties accessing health care services. Additionally, individuals in each condition/impairment group had significantly higher odds of experiencing a variety of barriers, including discrimination by healthcare staff, inexperienced or unhelpful staff, lack of help with communication, lack of information, problems with transportation, difficulty getting into buildings, difficulty using facilities, and lack of confidence or anxiety.

Conclusions
Individuals with chronic health conditions or impairments are significantly more likely than their non-impaired peers to experience barriers in accessing health care. These barriers are likely to exacerbate disability and may increase the likelihood of developing additional preventable health conditions. As a result, they may contribute towards the health inequalities experienced by disabled people. The existence of these barriers also suggests that health care provision in Great Britain is failing to meet its statutory requirement to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ to ensure equality of access for disabled adults.