Cadernos de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1678-4464
GIOVANELLA, Ligia. Primary care in European Union countries: configurations and organizational reforms in the 1990s. Cad. Saúde Pública [online]. 2006, vol.22, n.5, pp. 951-963. ISSN 1678-4464. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0102-311X2006000500008.
During the 1990s, proposals to contain health expenditures and demands raised by changes in the epidemiological profile led to organizational reforms in primary healthcare services in European Union countries, aimed at promoting the coordination of services provided by the various levels of care. Based on a literature review, document analysis, and interviews with key informants, the current study analyzes the institutional configurations for first-level healthcare and discusses the pre-coordination organizational reforms in the European Union countries. First-level outpatient care is provided in these countries through a wide variety of institutional configurations, observing the different financing mechanisms, range of healthcare professionals, range of clinical services provided, and the position occupied by physicians in primary care within the healthcare system. Reforms in the last decade were accompanied by a diversification in the outpatient care organizational models, with an expansion in the clinical, healthcare coordination management, and financing functions of primary care professionals, indicating a process in transition, with a redefinition of the roles played by general practitioners as the leaders of patient care.
Keywords : Primary Health Care; Health Sector Reform; Health Services; Health Services Administration.