Four out of five patients satisfied with primary care in Spain, according to Health Barometer

by Lorraine Williamson
health care

56.7% of the population believes that the Spanish health system works reasonably well or that it works well. 81.4% of patients surveyed are satisfied with primary care, a percentage that increases slightly compared to 2022 (79.7%), according to the Ministry of Health’s 2023 Health Barometer. 

Primary care appointments were rated with a 6.37. The worst rated service, with a score of 6.04, is the specialist care consultation. Hospital emergency departments are rated 6.23 and primary care emergency departments 6.35. The health barometer also shows that 112 and 061 are the most valued service with a score of 7.42. The figure for admissions to public hospitals is a 7.23. 

Primary care overburdened and under-resourced 

Primary care, which is struggling due to a shortage of resources and long waiting lists, receives a 6.37 for consultations with general practitioners.  

On the eve of the Interterritorial Council of the National Health System which is holding a meeting on the saturation of primary care, the barometer shows satisfaction with the functioning of the public system. The overall score is 6.27 and it is about the same as last year (6.26). The number of respondents who feel that the system is not functioning properly and needs radical changes remains stable. In 2023, it was 14.3%, up from 14.5% in 2022. 

Visit primary care centre 

78.6% of the Spanish population say they have gone to a primary care centre in the past year. Of these, 69.8% had to wait more than a day from the time they made the appointment to the consultation. The average waiting time was even 9.12 days, which is an increase compared to 8.8 days in 2022. 

ASSSA - health insurance in Spain

Waiting lists 

43.5% of citizens think that the problem of waiting lists in hospitals is still as big as last year. 33.9% think it has worsened in the last 12 months; and only 11.3% think it has improved. Thus, the data shows that 38.2% of people referred from primary care have waited more than three months to be seen by the specialist. This is almost in line with the figures for 2022. 

Type of primary care 

78.6% have received face-to-face care, which is up from 66.9% in 2022. The reason for this is the decrease in the number of telephone consultations (from 31.3% to 19.9%). Only 21.1% of patients were able to go for a consultation on the same or next day 

Specialist 

On the other hand, 47.8% of those surveyed indicated that they had consulted a public health specialist in the last 12 months. 82.8% rated the care received positively. A total of 42.3% attended these consultations on the advice of the general practitioner and 55.4% on the appointment of the specialist doctor after a previous consultation. 

Spanish health care system 

Overall, 56.7% of the population believes that the Spanish healthcare system works quite well or that it works well, although some changes are needed. After the marked decrease in this perception between 2019 (71.4%) and 2022 (57.1%), this percentage is now fairly stable. 

Also read: Public dental health care to include unemployed and over 65s

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