Shortage of Family Practitioner in Rural Areas is Present
Ergebnisse eines Schulprojekts in Neustadtgerman translation / full article
Results of a Project in High School in Neustadt
Background: Shortage of family practitioners and demographic change of society are an increasing threat of health care delivery, especially in rural areas. The discussion of future health care delivery attracts increasing attention. Within a project-work, two high school students from Neustadt near Coburg explored perceptions on rural family medicine among patients. Furthermore, estimation of rural health care in the view of family practitioners and medical students was compared.
Methods: The survey employed questionnaires to explore perceptions among patients, family practitioners and medical students. Items were chosen out of scientific literature and expert opinions. Answers were rated on dichotomous (yes/no) or 5-point likert-scales, the possibility of free (written) answers were given.
Results: Patients (n = 108) already perceive a lack of family practitioners and were concerned about future medical care in rural areas. Family practitioners (n = 6) mostly did not regret their decision to settle and work in a rural area. Medical students (n = 252) did not estimate rural areas as an attractive future work area. Nevertheless, results revealed differences of estimated workforce in rural areas between family practitioners and medical students. Medical students perceived less challenge in the medical workforce, diversity and salary in rural areas.
Conclusions: Family practitioners should accept their responsibility for recruiting future new blood – now more than ever. The increasing number of academic departments for family medicine at universities is an important precondition. Experienced on-the job role models should amend students’ perspectives on family medicine. Accordingly, demands from politics, people or patients on lack of family practitioners will be answered.