No clear definitions or entities have been found to describe the access of care well’ but there have been controversial trials towards this. Despite all the controversies, one thing that comes out in common is that access of care is more or less one and the same thing no matter the different definitions. Some have defined access as the entry and use of health services while to others, access characterizes the factors affecting the entry and use of the health services (Penchansky and Thomas 1). In unison, access of care refers to the ways and means by which people are able to get health services. The access is affected by factors that either hinder or support the getting of health services. These factors include the availability, affordability, physical accessibility (delivery), acceptability (quality) of services and equity. This paper seeks to explain how these factors affect access to health care and also to mention some barriers to access of care.
Access of care is affected by service availability in more than the obvious ways that come into one’s mind just by the mention of it. Availability is in different aspects that affect access of health care differently. Health providers, medicine, and infrastructure are the different features. Health providers are one key determiner of access of care. In regions having a dense supply of health providers, access to care is simple and more affordable. The health providers on their part also have the responsibility of finding the most in need, in the society and helping them in terms of providing the necessary supplies besides just advising them (Kronenfeld 120). Availability of medical supplies and tools is a factor on its own, whereby the more the medical supplies, the more accessible the health services and vice versa. Infrastructure comprises of roads and buildings and in this case, hospitals/clinics and roads leading to them. Many hospitals in the region and good roads leading to them account for easier access to care by all.
Access of care is secondly affected by affordability, physical accessibility (delivery), and acceptability (quality) of services, all of which have more or less similar effects. There are some health services whose cost scares those in need of them. The cost of these services, drugs and other supplies, when too high, hinders access by the poor due to the inability of affordability (Goudge 1). The rich or rather the able do not find the access to these services, drugs and other supplies, difficult (Kronenfeld 266). Physical accessibility is another way of referring to the geographical position and topography a people. In some places of the world, Africa to be particular, desert living people are the most disadvantaged when it comes to access of care for obvious reasons. The distance from developed towns and urban regions are scaring and the route by road is terrifying thereby making it hard for the transportation of everything to those regions. Health services can sometimes be poor. In as much as there is access of care, the quality of the services can make the access worthless (Victor 157). Quality services call for easy and adequate access unlike poor services offered by, and at various health centers.
Some barriers to access of care include financial barriers, organizational barriers, geographical barriers and human barriers. According to Martin Gulliford and Myfanwy Morgan, paying hospitals determines access of care by the way in which they are paid. There are two ways of paying, retrospective and prospective payments. Retrospective payments encourage workers in hospitals to work harder and there are better services leading to more access of care. On the contrary, prospective payments work within a budget. Hospitals, therefore, concentrate more on ensuring they meet the budget rather than the provision of quality services. This payment thus makes access of care to be poor.
In the access of care, there are ways of measuring whether the access is good or poor and its equitable distribution. McIntyre says that the equity in the access of the services and care is measured by the conditions of the receivers of the care. The conditions are variable and they are, therefore, put into different considerations. Conditions such as financial status, accessibility of the residence and disease prevalence are just, but a few to mention. Access of care should, despite all the differences and circumstances, should be equal and fair.
Jane Goudge, Lucy Gilson, Steven Russell, Tebogo Gumede and Anne Mills. Affordability, availability and acceptability barriers to health care for the chronically ill: Longitudinal case studies from South Africa. BMC Health Services Research. Barcelona. Jo Appleford-Cook. Print.
Kronenfeld, Jennie J. Access to Care and Factors That Impact Access, Patients As Partners in Care and Changing Roles of Health Providers. Bingley, England: Emerald Group Pub, 2011. Print.
Martin Gulliford and Myfanwy Morgan. Access to Health Care. London. Routledge. Print.
McIntyre, Di, and Gavin H. Mooney. The Economics of Health Equity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Internet resource.
Penchansky R. and Thomas JW. The concept of access: definition and relationship to consumer satisfaction. Pubmed. Rockville Pike, Bethesda MD. Print. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7206846
Victor, Christina R. Ageing, Health, and Care. Bristol, UK: Policy Press, 2010. Print.