Publicatie datum

Public trust in health care in The Netherlands.

Schee, E. van der, Groenewegen, P.P., Friele, R. Public trust in health care in The Netherlands. European Journal of Public Health: 2002, 12(suppl. 4), p. 104. Abstract. 10th Annual Eupha Meeting 'Bridging the gap between research and policy in public health' in Dresden, Germany 28 - 30 november 2002.
Background: In health care there is an information gap between patients and caregivers. Generally patients depend on the care givers' knowledge. Therefore patients mostly have difficulty to judge the quality of care they receive. This means patients have to trust the caregivers about doing their best. This makes trust an important issue in health care.
Trust can be divided in two forms, interpersonal and public trust. Interpersonal trust is described as trust placed by one person in another person. Public trust is trust placed by a person in societal institutions. These types of trust are related and interdependent. Aim: The aim of this study is to gain insight in the development of public trust in health care in the Netherlands over the past five years. Methods: Every year, since 1997, data about public trust in health care was collected by sending a postal questionnaire to the "Health Care Consumerspanel" . This panel consists of 1500 households and forms a representative sample of the Dutch population. Respondents were asked about the extent in which they trust the entire system of health care services, at present and in the future. Besides, questions were asked about trust placed in professional groups and institutions in health care. The data were analysed with SPSS.
Results: Trust in general health care at present is higher than trust in health care in the future. Over the years levels of trust at present and in the future show only little variation. Trust in professional groups shows that most trust is put in general practitioners, dentists and pharmacists. Practitioners of complementary medicine are less trusted. Among the institutions, hospitals are most trusted. On the contrary mental health institutions are least trusted. In both categories these outcomes do not change much over the years. Conclusions: Trust in health care remains relatively stable, although in the same period debates about e.g. waiting lists came up. There seems to be more trust in personal health services (GP, dentist, pharmacist) than in institutions, such as hospitals. Complementary medicine is more trusted if it is practiced by physicians compared to non-physicians. The explanation of these results asks for more theoretical and empirical analysis. (aut.ref.)