Original Research

The impact of family physician supply on district health system performance, clinical processes and clinical outcomes in the Western Cape Province, South Africa (2011–2014)

Rekai L. Chinhoyi, Moleen Zunza, Klaus B. von Pressentin
African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine | Vol 10, No 1 | a1442 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/phcfm.v10i1.1442 | © 2018 Rekai L. Chinhoyi, Moleen Zunza, Klaus B. von Pressentin | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 February 2017 | Published: 19 April 2018

About the author(s)

Rekai L. Chinhoyi, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Moleen Zunza, Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Stellenbosch University, South Africa
Klaus B. von Pressentin, Division of Family Medicine and Primary Care, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: A revised family physician (FP) training programme was introduced in South Africa in 2007. A baseline assessment (2011) of the impact of FP supply on district health system performance was performed within the Western Cape Province, South Africa. The impact of an increased FP supply within this province required re-evaluation.
Aim: To assess the impact of FP supply on indicators of district health system performance, clinical processes and clinical outcomes in the Western Cape Province. The objectives were to determine the impact of FPs, nurses, medical officers (MOs) and other specialists.
Setting: The study sample included all five rural districts and eight urban subdistricts of the Western Cape Province.
Methods: A secondary analysis was performed on routinely collected data from the Western Cape Department of Health from 01 March 2011 until 30 April 2014.
Results: The FP supply did not significantly impact the indicators analysed. The supply of nurses and MOs had an impact on some of the indicators analysed.
Conclusion: This study did not replicate the positive associations between an increase in FP supply and improved health indicators, as described previously for high-income country settings. The impact of FP supply on clinical processes, health system performance and outcome indicators in the Western Cape Province was not statistically significant. Future re-evaluation is recommended to allow for more time and an increase in FP supply.

Keywords

Family Medicine; Primary Health Care; Family Physician

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